Dr. Frank DiChiara, the former director of IN-SIGHT’s low vision program, recently published “Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired,” a book that examines the low vision exam and beyond.
In 1959, Dr. DiChiara opened one of the first low vision clinics in the United States at the headquarters of the Rhode Island Association for the Blind in the historic Arcade building in downtown Providence. He worked for the Association for more than thirty years before passing the reigns on to Dr. Helene Bradley who still works in the clinic today.
Marketed primarily to eye care professionals, social workers, occupational therapists, and others who work directly with people living with visual impairments, the 238-page book provides in-depth analysis of low vision exams, the devices available to help people maximize their remaining vision, and a broader overview of other programs that can help people adapt to living with low or no vision.
The book is a compilation of articles written by several people who have worked in the field for decades. The list includes Dr. DiChiara, Dr. Donna Gavin, who worked in our clinic for fifteen years, Dr. Hayvis Woolf, who helped start the RI Radio Reading Service, which eventually became IN-SIGHT Radio, IN-SIGHT Executive Director Christopher Butler, and many more.
While some of the chapters, especially those on lenses, are somewhat technical, most of the book is very easy to read and understand.
Included in the book is an excellent overview by Dr. Lawrence Kline of the low vision evaluation process and its goal of focusing on function and helping people to reach their goals; Dr. Wayne Hoeft goes into detail about the expectations patients have for “magic glasses” and the inability of many older patients to accept change; Dr. Tracey Williams talks about the emotional aspects of vision loss. She points out the need to help patients focus their energy on filling their emotional bucket full of fruitfulness instead of frustration, anger, and depression; and Dr. Bruce Rosenthal looks at the historical development of the low vision exam.