Assessing patients with low vision
- If you do not have sufficient expertise to assess a patient with low vision, you should refer the patient to someone who has. This may be an optometrist or a dispensing optician based in a low vision service, or the local social services department.
- You may need to assess the patient's:
- needs. Some patients may have a personal care plan or low vision passport that would assist in this assessment
- visual acuity, including use of distance and near logMAR charts. If these are not available you may be able to use conventional charts to achieve meaningful results
- contrast sensitivity
- glare function
- central visual function using, for example, Amsler charts and appropriate colour vision tests
- visual field. You should:
- repeat field assessments, where necessary and possible, to obtain a meaningful result, and
- be aware of the limitations of static screening equipment particularly in cases of severe sight loss. If you do not have access to a conventional kinetic test, such as Goldmann, you should use confrontation type tests and Amsler charts for central vision to give practical advice to the patient
- binocular and accommodative status, where appropriate, for example in phakic children with low vision.
- When you have completed the appropriate assessments you must advise the patient your findings in a way they can understand. 34, 35, 36 This may include using large print, sending as an audio file, Braille, or in an easy read format.
- You should pass on relevant information to the low vision team or other appropriate parties, with an explanation of the results.
See section on Consent.
34 Equality Act 2010. [Accessed 18 Nov2020]
35 General Optical Council (2016) Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians para 2.1. [Accessed 18 Nov 2020]
36 General Optical Council (2019) ~Standards for Optical Businesses para 1.3.1. [Accessed 18 Nov 2020]