CORONA, Calif., June 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Giving people with low vision hope – and choices – is the ultimate mission of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS), whose member doctors offer treatments and resources that are at the forefront of low vision care. The academy works to train eye care professionals in the technology and latest treatment options available to patients who present with low vision that has not been remedied with traditional means. Recently, doctors in six new states and Canada joined the ranks of IALVS after completing their training program.
"Most eye doctors focus on preventing vision loss through medical and surgical means. But some conditions cause vision loss despite whatever means we have available," explained Dr. Richard J. Shuldiner, low vision optometrist and founder of the IALVS.
"I founded the IALVS with the idea that there is life after vision loss. Our doctors are trained in finding means to maintain independence and lifestyle, despite the vision loss. We prescribe low vision glasses to allow people to continue everyday activities like driving, reading, seeing faces, playing bridge, and writing emails."
IALVS members are Low Vision Optometrists specifically trained to deliver innovative treatments for low vision conditions. "No longer is it true that nothing can be done when vision is reduced from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, inoperable cataracts and glaucoma, among others," says Dr. Shuldiner. Individualized treatment options include spectacle miniature telescopes, implantable miniature telescopes, reverse telescope glasses, spectacle microscopes, spectacle prismatics, E-Scoop Filter Spectacles and nutritional counseling. (Information from state Departments of Motor Vehicles regarding rules for drivers with low vision can be found at www.IALVS.org.)
Visual impairment is a worldwide problem affecting about 285 million people. If these individuals banded together and founded their own nation, it would be the fourth most populous on Earth. The World Health Organization estimates that 90% of people who have low vision or blindness are low income. Cataracts and other refractive errors are the primary cause of moderate to severe visual impairment around the world.
Age is as much a factor as income in predicting who will have vision problems. Four in five people living with low vision are aged 50 and above. Low vision has a profound impact on quality of life as people gradually lose the ability to do things they once enjoyed, from playing cards to watching sports to reading and writing and even driving.
Despite the scope of the problem, Shuldiner and his colleagues believe there is good news. Many causes of visual impairments are preventable with regularly scheduled eye exams. "Early detection is key in restoring full vision or preventing further degradation. If, after your eye exam, you still believe your sight is not what it should be, a low vision exam can test the functional aspects of eyesight, a first step in finding a solution," added Shuldiner.
Today, IALVS-trained doctors are practicing in 29 states and Canada. The academy's ongoing training programs make it possible to bring low vision expertise to more people in more places around the world.
About the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists
The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS) is committed to the realization that there is life after vision loss. By providing a comprehensive Low Vision patient evaluation, we strive to enhance the quality of life, independence and safety of our patients. We design, prescribe and dispense the highest quality, optically advanced, hands-free low vision devices available. We do this with compassion, integrity, education, innovation and professionalism.
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SOURCE International Academy of Low Vision Specialists