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Understanding and Managing Vision Deficits
A Guide for Occupational Therapists
Edited by Mitchell Scheiman

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Understanding and Managing Vision Deficits: A Guide for Occupational Therapists
Edited by Mitchell Scheiman
Slack Incorporated, (2002)
Standard Print -- ISBN: 1-55642-528-7

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 29, 2002

Although Understanding and Managing Vision Deficits was ostensibly written just for Occupational Therapists, it is also well suited for anyone interested in, or dealing with, the management of vision deficits. Edited by Mitchell Scheiman, this book offers a comprehensive overview of vision, and the various defects that can arise, and how these defects can be treated.

It was written especially for occupational therapists, in order to fill a void that existed in the field. In the past, few occupational therapists dealt with visually impaired individuals. Consequently, information about treating visual deficits was often overlooked or barely touched upon during their training. Times have changed, however, and occupational therapists are finding that they are being asked to work with individuals with varying degrees of vision loss, and various types of visual defects. This book will help such individuals fill in any gaps that might exist in their educational background. It will also serve as a handy reference guide for those already familiar with this field. This book will also help those in the fields of optometry and ophthalmology learn about the various benefits that their patients might derive from working with an occupational therapist.

This book is divided into thematically organized chapters. The first three chapters provide general information on how the eye works, eye anatomy, the various test used to determine visual acuity, and common eye health problems. And, chapters four and five detail visual efficiency skills, and how visual efficiency defects are classified and diagnosed, and how visual information is processed. Throughout, special emphasis is given on how to measure visual defects and deficits in children.

With chapter six, the book moves onto testing and screening methods that are of particular use to occupational therapists to determine the type and severity of the defect or deficit to be treated. Throughout this book, whenever a test or screening method is mentioned, the author has also included detailed information on how the test is administered and how the results are measured. Chapter seven offers the reader a review on the management of refractive and other disorders. As the author points out, this chapter is not intended to teach you how to do a refraction, rather it will provide you with essential information that will enable you to work with the patient's optometrist in order to manage such disorders.

The next five chapters (8-12) deal with common visual defects, with targeted information on how these defects impact children, adults, and the developmentally disabled. Chapter 13 deals with vision disorders that can arise after cerebrovascular accidents and traumatic brain injuries. While the information in these chapters (8-13) is not comprehensive, it is extensive and will provide you a thorough grounding in the subjects covered and will serve as a good starting point for a more in-depth study in the visual defects.

The last two chapters in this book will be of particular interested to those involved in treating visually impaired patients. Chapter 14 provides a detailed overview of low vision. And, Chapter 15 offers a thorough overview of various adaptive aids that can be used with individuals with low vision, and how to evaluate what aids would be of most help to your patient. Also covered is how to do an environmental assessment to determine what changes can be made in their home or work environment that will make the patient more self-sufficient and comfortable.

The last couple of chapters will be of most interest to those just starting to set up an occupation therapy speciality in low vision or visual impairment. These last chapters, 16-18, detail such aspects of setting up a practice as billing codes, how to work as part of a team when dealing with a patient, and how to work in unison with the patient's optometrist. Lastly, the book concludes with an overview of task analysis and synthesis. Information is included which will help explain to optometrists, how occupational therapists formulate their plan to aid the patient, and why such activities would benefit the patient.

This book is well written, and is not bogged down with a lot of jargon. The explanations are clear, and the text is amply illustrated. Each chapter concludes with a brief summary of the key points in the chapter and a glossary of key terms is also included. All in all, this is a through overview of the field of vision deficits, and how such deficits can be treated, or at least managed, by occupational therapists.

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