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Services

​​​​​​Vision loss rehabilitation therapy helps people with all types of vision loss to develop or restore key daily living skills, helping enhance their independence, safety, mobility and well-being. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and other health care professionals may refer you for this therapy as a part of your overall care plan. 

Vision loss rehabilitation therapy is provided by certified specialists, who will work with you to create a personalized rehabilitation plan to meet your needs and goals. 

Your plan may include one or more of the following services:

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program

All people with Diabetes who are over 12 years old should receive regular eye screenings. Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Canada and is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults younger than 75. Research has shown that early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can reduce the risk of vision loss by 95 per cent.

VLRC has developed a Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program in partnership with community organizations to provide screenings for Diabetic Retinopathy. It allows health care providers increased mobility to reach individuals in more remote locations. Digital photographs are taken of both retinas using a portable hand-held fundus camera. The images are uploaded into an automated Diabetic Retinopathy screening software, approved by Health Canada and a report is provided at point of care. Retinal imaging can occur as part of routine diabetic or health care appointments.

A referral is then made to Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada who will coordinate the required follow-up care with the client’s GP and/or appropriate eye care professional.

The Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program aims to reduce the risk of vision loss by the early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Currently these services are being offered in Ontario only. Click here for Diabetic Retinopathy Community Referral Form.

If you are outside of Ontario, please contact Josie McGee (Josie.McGee@vlrehab.ca).

Low vision s​ervices​

If you have low vision, learning to use the sight you have left can be life changing. Our certified specialists can:

  • provide information about your eye disease and explain how it affects vision in an easy-to-understand way

  • teach you how to use lighting and colour contrast to maximize your remaining vision

  • help you select appropriate low vision aids and assistive technology – from specialty magnifiers to telescopes, iPads and apps

  • teach you how to use these devices for everyday tasks like reading small print on medications and food packages, to reading personal mail, newspapers, phone numbers and recipes, to watching TV, to reading street signs and bus numbers ​

​Essential skills for daily l​iving

Our certified specialists can help you build the skills you need to live safely and independently with vision loss. This may include helping you:  

  • Learn safe methods of pouring a cup of coffee, preparing a meal and using household appliances

  • Discover simple techniques for labelling medications, identifying money, using the phone and organizing household items 

  • Learn how to use large-print, braille and audio products, and adaptive technology as a part of day-to-day life

Travel and mobility instructi​on

 Learning to travel independently with vision loss is an essential skill. Our certified specialists can help you learn:

  • Use the guiding techniques: comfortable way to walk with a sighted person, the ability to use remaining vision and other senses to travel

  • Use a white cane and other mobility tools

  • Navigate your home and property safely and independently

  • Find and cross intersections

  • Ride public transit with confidence to reach community resources like the grocery store, bank or shopping mall 

  • Navigate new environments like a workplace or school campus

Service coordination and counselling 

Counselling is critical to people coming to terms with their vision loss, understanding and dealing with their emotions, and accepting the support and training that will allow them to live independent, active, lives.  This may include:​

  • Assistance with finding community programs, financial subsidies and other helpful resources available in your local area.

  • One-on-one counselling and/or referral to other mental health supports

  • A structured eight week adjustment to vision loss program facilitated by a trained professional

  • Connection to others who can share similar experiences and advice on adapting to vision loss