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Phillips Eye Institute

Low vision services

Low Vision Store

Park Avenue Medical Office Building
(next to Phillips Eye Institute)
710 East 24th Street, Suite 203
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Hours

Low Vision Center
Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Minnesota Low Vision Store
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Low Vision Center
612-775-8866

Minnesota Low Vision Store
612-775-8967

*Appointments are no longer available at our Buffalo location.

What is low vision?

Vision is the ability to see objects and detail. It includes seeing colors, contrast and field of view. Low vision is a decline in any of these abilities. It can affect activities like reading, cooking, driving, enjoying hobbies and more.

Low vision is visual acuity of less than 20/50 (the standard driver’s test requirement is 20/40), or loss of contrast or field of view. But problems with glare or color discrimination can be as troublesome as decreased vision. Difficulty reading, sewing, seeing faces or walking are signs of low vision.

We can help

Fortunately, low vision does not have to mean no vision. Specialists in low vision evaluation and treatment can help you make the most of your remaining vision. Often the people who can benefit the most from a low vision evaluation and training are those with moderate vision loss, or visual acuity between 20/60 – 20/100.

Referral forms

A doctor’s referral is required for a Low Vision Center evaluation. Download the form or call
612-775-8866 to request a form.


Source: Phillips Eye Institute
Reviewed by: Amanda Stoltman, OD
First Published: 05/10/2010
Last Reviewed: 03/17/2014

What to expect

Low Vision Center
612-775-8866

Minnesota Low Vision Store
612-775-8967

*Appointments are no longer available at our Buffalo location.

Following a referral from your doctor, a low vision optometrist will evaluate you at the Low Vision Center at Phillips Eye Institute. The optometrist will determine which devices you will need and what services and skills will help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Transportation

Patients unable to provide their own transportation to Phillips Eye Institute may be able to take advantage of the Phillips Eye Institute transportation service, which provides van transportation for patients who live within 20 miles.

Devices

You will have the opportunity to purchase low vision devices at the Minnesota Low Vision Store. It has the latest technology in magnifiers, telescopes and video magnifiers, as well as products like talking watches, cooking gadgets and other environmental aids. Device costs vary, but some relatively inexpensive devices can make a big difference. Many people find them to be extremely helpful, and they make great gifts from family members and friends.

Follow-up services

If needed, the Low Vision Center may refer you to the other programs serving people with low vision, including Vision Loss Resources and/or State Services for the Blind.

Insurance

Medicare and private insurance usually cover the evaluation and follow-up visits, if necessary, at the Low Vision Center. Please bring your insurance information with you to your appointment.

Is a low vision evaluation right for you?

Dr. Stoltman helping a patient

Dr. Stoltman is guiding a patient through a low vision evaluation.

Low Vision Center
612-775-8866

Minnesota Low Vision Store
612-775-8967

*Appointments are no longer available at our Buffalo location.

Low vision can affect anyone, and it is increasingly common as we age. When you have low vision, it means that you have trouble seeing even while wearing glasses or contact lenses, and that your vision problem can’t be corrected by taking medicine or having surgery.

"People often think that the only thing they can do is get their glasses adjusted. If they still have trouble seeing, they assume that’s just the way it is," said Amanda Stoltman, DO, a low vision optometrist at Phillips Eye Institute’s Low Vision Center.

Some signs of low vision include difficulty with daily tasks, like reading a newspaper, writing a check, watching television or seeing a menu. "If tasks like these have become more difficult, a low vision evaluation may help to identify services and devices that can make your life easier and more enjoyable," said Stoltman.

Adaptive devices range from simple hand-held magnifiers and special kitchen equipment, to electronic magnifiers and talking watches. There are even bioptic driving glasses that include telescopic lenses embedded in a regular lens, allowing some people with low vision to continue or return to driving.

Patients can try a variety of devices at the Minnesota Low Vision Store, which is located at the Low Vision Center.

"The most important thing to know is that you don’t need to wait until you are legally blind to benefit from these services," said Stoltman.

Chuck Schuler, 78, seeing more since his visit


Low Vision Center
612-775-8866

Minnesota Low Vision Store
612-775-8967

*Appointments are no longer available at our Buffalo location.

Not only is Chuck Schuler, 78, seeing more since his visit to the Low Vision Center at Phillips Eye Institute – he is also smiling more.

After macular degeneration caused permanent vision loss in both eyes, Schuler’s ophthalmologist referred him to the Low Vision Center.

A low vision specialist evaluated Schuler. Then he saw an occupational therapist with skills in low vision therapy. She helped Schuler learn about devices that help address vision deficits.

Schuler was able to try several devices at home before deciding what to purchase. Now he uses a reading machine with a 22-inch screen to read books, magazines and the newspaper. He also uses a low vision telescope – a special lens attached to a pair of glasses -- to watch television.

"Every one there was so helpful," said Schuler. "I can function better, I smile more, and it makes life closer to what it was before my vision declined," he said.