Functional Vision Assessment

Functional Vision Assessment

Cortical visual impairment is usually associated with developmental delay or disabilities. It can be noted in infants/ children due to various reasons like prematurity, brain damage associated with stormy prenatal or birth conditions, trauma, brain injury, cerebral palsy or genetic syndromes etc.

These children have to be recognised early and examined / assessed for early intervention. If not intervened early, the children may suffer from permanent disabilities and lifetime consequences and eventually exclusion from mainstream and society. This will further worsen their cognitive, emotional, physical condition etc.

Usually neurologists, paediatricians refer these children to ophthalmologists / optometrist / rehabilitation specialist for complete evaluation. The tests involve functional vision evaluation which requires extensive training and guidelines for the clinician. The professional will understand not only the visual potential but also the associated motor disability, cognitive impairment and poor attention which are usually the challenge.

Interdisciplinary approach and team of professionals:

Family counselling especially for the parents is important to help them understand the need for this intervention and how to cope with the situation psychologically and support the child.

An interdisciplinary approach is recommended as the caregivers include vision rehabilitation professional, vision therapist, rehabilitation counsellor, special educator, orientation and mobility instructor, optometrist, low vison care specialist, speech therapist & language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers.

Vision rehabilitation professionals provide therapy with the aim to engage childu2018s residual vision as a tool for learning and exploring the environment. In the absence of vision, systematic therapy to use tactile and hearing sense to understand the environment. Tailor made approach to intervention and protocols will be followed by rehabilitation specialists to address difficulties with cognitive ability, hearing, speech and vision of the child.

Continued therapy, support services of government / non-governmental organisations, individualised educational plan, referral to inclusive and special schools are important in helping these children and their families.

Challenges:

The major challenges in India for access to such care are

  1. Lack of awareness
  2. Non availability of trained professionals
  3. Limited resources
  4. Lack of access to care in low socio economic or rural population

Vision-Aid is aimed at addressing all the challenges and improving care and training of infants and children to improve visual processing skills.

References:

Jayaraman, D., Jacob, N., & Swaminathan, M. (2021). Visual function assessment, ocular examination, and intervention in children with developmental delay: A systematic approach – Part 2. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 69(8), 2012. https://doi.org/10.4103/IJO.IJO_2396_20

Swaminathan, M., Jayaraman, D., & Jacob, N. (2019). Visual function assessment, ocular examination, and intervention in children with developmental delay: A systematic approach. Part 1. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 67(2), 196. https://doi.org/10.4103/IJO.IJO_524_18

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Nibin Mathews’ journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing

significant visual impairment challenges since birth, Nibin pursued education with unwavering determination. Losing sight in one eye due to a cricket ball stroke in 6th grade and later losing vision in the other eye to glaucoma didn’t deter him. He completed his Bachelor’s in English and even secured a job with Indian Railways. Yet, his thirst for knowledge led him to pursue computer programming, which he found through Vision-Aid. With their specialized training, he mastered coding and digital accessibility testing. With their financial support, he pursued a Master’s degree. Now, as the Accessibility Lead at Bosch Global Software Technologies, he’s excelling professionally. But Nibin’s achievements don’t stop there; he’s also an international tennis champion and a skilled violinist. He attributes much of his success to Vision-Aid, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey. His story is not just one of personal triumph but also a testament to the impact of support systems in overcoming challenges and inspiring others.

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Meet Gautam, a remarkable individual based in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, whose life story is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of organizations like Vision-Aid India.

Gautam’s life commenced with the diagnosis of Retinist Pigmentosa. Despite experiencing a 40% loss of sight, he persevered through attending a regular school, successfully completing his education and earning a B Com degree. His world took an unexpected turn after graduation, when, he had the major sight loss. Faced with the challenges of navigating everyday activities like driving, reading, writing print, and mobility etc. Yet, rather than allowing these obstacles to define him, he chose a path of resilience and determination. Undeterred by his circumstances, Gautam turned to technology, becoming dependent on tools designed for visually impaired individuals, including screen readers. His quest for independence led him to explore new technologies with the support of various NGOs. Through his social networks, Gautam discovered Vision-Aid India, an organization dedicated to empowering the visually impaired. Recognizing the potential for growth, he enrolled in Vision-Aid’s IBPS banking crash course, specifically tailored for visually impaired individuals, in April 2022.

Determined to enhance his skills further, Gautam pursued an additional course in mobile technology. This commitment to personal and professional growth showcased his unwavering spirit and determination.

Armed with newfound knowledge, Gautam faced the Bank of India Credit Officer exam after completing the IBPS crash course. His hard work, coupled with the right guidance from Vision-Aid, resulted in success. In 2023, Gautam proudly joined Bank of India as a Credit Officer, marking a significant milestone in his journey.

Gautam attributes his success and newfound independence to Vision-Aid India. With deep gratitude, he acknowledges the organization’s role in providing IBPS coaching and shaping his path towards independence.

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Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.

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Meet Bindu, from Hyderabad. Who began her life with the gift of perfect vision? She embarked on her educational journey in a conventional school, but at the tender age of 9, her world dimmed as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) impacted her sight. Loosing major of her vision with lot of challenges she still could complete her graduate degree in 2020 and her post-graduate degree in 2022. Being interested to pursue her career in computer programming she discovered Vision-Aid India, a beacon of hope and opportunity. Enrolling in their online certification programs, Bindu successfully completed both Python and SQL languages. Armed with these newfound skills, she opened doors to her career, securing a position as a Data Engineer at RX Data Science, a renowned company.

“All of this was made possible through the invaluable support and guidance provided by Vision-Aid India” She Says.

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