“When you really help them, you’ll know,” my professor once told me. And those of us doing low vision certainly know that to be the truth!
We live in fear of hearing “I don’t want to hold it so close,” “it’s not as clear as it was before,” “the field of view is so narrow,” or “I still can’t see well at night!,” and always “Why can’t you just make me some new glasses I can see well with?”
But, the delight that we can evoke when our patient can read, watch TV, and see the faces and smiles of their loved ones from across the room, makes all the frustrations we as practitioners experience fade away.
The challenge of course is that we can’t help everyone. Not everyone responds to low vision aids, either due to their vision, dexterity, temperament or motivation. These are variables we can’t often control. And we need to develop a method to manage such realities.
We have to learn to not take it personally when things don’t go as smoothly as we might want. And this, I feel, is what discourages some of our colleagues from pursuing or continuing to provide low vision care.
I have learned to promise less than I expect to achieve, to not over-prescribe, and to reiterate (over and over) that it’s a process, just like learning to ride a bike, play and instrument, or drive. We have to not just be prescribers, but we have to be cheerleaders as well.