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Practice Perspectives

Through Different Lenses

Jane N. Erin

Print edition page number(s) 275-275

When a new Practice Perspective is accepted for the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), I often imagine which readers will notice it in the journal, and I think about how the topic might be useful for them. Some readers will read it eagerly and will immediately see relevance to the clients they serve. Others will read the title or perhaps several paragraphs; although they may recall the topic from university courses, they do not finish reading because it does not seem related to their current professional role. Still others may not understand the topic at all, but they persist in reading with the hope of learning something new.

I especially considered these varied reactions when this month's Practice Perspective was prepared for publication. "Methods for Prism Placement for Hemianopic Visual Field Loss in Adults with Low Vision" is written by two optometrists, Denise Wilcox and Connie Chronister, and by an orientation and mobility specialist, Muriel Savage. They serve adult patients with visual impairments in two agencies in the Philadelphia area. Their writing describes a collaboration between low vision specialists and orientation and mobility specialists that provides prism lenses to improve the vision of an adult patient with hemianopic loss due to brain trauma. Although the description of assessment, trial, and applications includes technical terms that may be unfamiliar to some readers, the report is a reminder that successful assessment and planning is vital to the successful use of a new low vision device.

If you are a specialist in low vision or an orientation and mobility specialist, and if you work with adults with brain trauma, it is likely that reading this report will invite comparisons with the people you serve and the agencies where you work. Can your clients receive a thorough low vision assessment like the patient described here? And does the team plan for application and practice after the device is prescribed, to ensure the best chance of success?

If you work with children, either as a teacher or an orientation and mobility specialist, it may be more difficult to connect this information to your practice. However, you might consider the importance of following up a clinical assessment with practice in the instructional environment: do you have the opportunity to work with your students on learning a new device, and is it possible to provide feedback to the clinician about the successes and challenges you experience? If not, how can that process be established in your work setting?

And if the report included technical content that is new to you or has been in storage since your graduate school years, perhaps it is time to review how prisms can assist people to see more efficiently. When I visited a restored lighthouse recently, I learned that prisms were used to magnify the light of lighthouses so that it could be better observed by ships. Visual adaptations are part of the world around us, but specialized attention and instruction as described here are important to make such adaptations useful for people with low vision, especially those with brain trauma like the client described in this report. No matter what your professional perspective, I hope that this report will connect with your everyday role and bring some new understanding of vision.


Do you have a professional success story that could encourage and inform others in the field of visual impairment? Send your idea to Jane N. Erin at <jerin@u.arizona.edu>, and she will assist you in developing a report for a future issue of Practice Perspectives.



Jane N. Erin, Ph.D., associate editor for practice, JVIB, and retired professor, Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology, College of Education, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210069, Tucson, AZ 85721; e-mail: <jerin@u.arizona.edu>.


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The Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB)--the international, interdisciplinary journal of record on blindness and visual impairment that publishes research and practice
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