A year ago, one of my patients underwent stereotactic brain surgery to remove a tumor that had been causing dizziness and vertigo. After the procedure, there were no issues with speech, swallowing or cognition, but my patient had significant visual field issues. Double vision, visual field cuts, feeling like ‘being wrapped in cellophane’ were common complaints during the last 12 months. Over time, these issues have gotten better, but are not fully resolved yet. Unfortunately, the vision deficits have caused significant limitations in the ability to drive, use a computer, and return to work. It made me wonder what options are available for the visually impaired in our state.

The New Hampshire Association for the Blind has information and resources for persons with all types of visual impairments, not just blindness. The key is if the vision loss has led to a decline in a person’s functional abilities for daily activities, whether vocational or recreational. Education, information and access to specialized vision rehabilitation services are just some of the options.

The New Hampshire Department of Education has Services for Blind and Visually Impaired, which “provides those services necessary to help people with visual loss to enter, re-enter, or maintain employment”. Rehabilitation services help with employment issues and personal/household management. Sight Services for Independent Living are available for persons aged 55 and older, who are legally blind or visually impaired, and can include adaptive devices, peer support groups, and skills training.

For students who are visually impaired or blind, New Hampshire has organizations that can go into schools and assist with proper services and accommodations for these students. Crotched Mountain’s ATECH Services ensures that these students have access to the general curriculum, and can help teachers and case managers understand a student’s vision loss and make the appropriate accommodations to meet the needs of that student.

Seeing is believing, and clarity of vision can lead to a fuller life.

Regards,

Stuart J. Glassman, MD

Please send your questions or comments to president@nhms.org or post a comment below.