Causes of Permanent Central Vision Loss

The common causes of permanent central vision loss are age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. We perform therapies aimed at preserving and sometimes restoring vision. In many cases, we cannot stop what nature started, and patients are left with limited vision. This can change a person’s life negatively and is terribly frustrating. The goal of this handout is to give you information regarding options and resources that will help you make the most of the vision you have. These are general suggestions and may not apply to your specific case. Also, in some diseases, a person’s vision may be changing and what is helpful now may need to be modified in the future. Low vision stores have useful tools to help with any level of vision loss.

Visual Acuity

20/40 to 20/60

  • Lighting – good, strong lamp from behind.
  • Glasses – strongest reading aid (from your eye doctor).
  • Magnifiers – hand held or chest-supported.
  • Driving restricted but not prohibited.

20/70 to 20/150

  • Lighting, glasses, magnifiers as above.
  • Contact Vision Loss Resources and State Services for the Blind. Low vision training is valuable.
  • Large print books. See resource list.
  • Closed-circuit TV (“reading machine”) may be helpful.
  • Driving restricted and limited to 20/80 or better in Minnesota.

20/200 to Worse

  • Lighting, glasses, magnifiers as above.
  • Contact Vision Loss Resources and State Services for the Blind. Low vision training is valuable.
  • Large print books. See resource list.
  • Closed-circuit TV (“reading machine”) may be helpful.
  • Driving restricted and limited to 20/80 or better in Minnesota.

Low Vision Resources

Click on a resource below for more information:

General

Minnesota State Services for the Blind and Visually Handicapped
2200 University Ave. W., #240
St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone: 651-642-0500

Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss
4505 W. Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: 218-624-4828

State Services for the Blind for Northern Minnesota
320 W. 2nd Street, Suite 205
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone:218-723-4600 or 1-800-657-3752

Vision Loss Resources
1936 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone:612-871-2222

Vision Loss Resources
216 Wabasha St. S.
St. Paul, MN 55107
Phone:651-224-7662

Training

Phillips Eye Institute Vision Rehabilitation Center
2215 Park Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: 612-775-8866

State Services for the Blind for Northern Minnesota
320 W. 2nd Street, Suite 205
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: 218-723-4600 or 1-800-657-3752

University of Minnesota Vision Rehabilitation Phillips
Wangensteen Building
516 Delaware St. SE 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-625-4400 or 1-800-937-4393

Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss
4505 W. Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: 218-624-4828

St. Luke’s Hospital Vision Rehabilitation Program
915 East First Street
Duluth, MN 55805
Phone: 218-726-5519 or 1-800-321-3790

Equipment

Minnesota Low Vision Store – Phillips Eye Institute
710 E 24th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: 1-612-775-8967 or 1-651-489-4194
Fax Number: 1-612-775-8876
Website: www.mnlowvision.com

Lighthouse Low Vision Store
4505 W Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55807

Minnesota Low Vision Store
821 3rd Avenue SE
Rochester, MN 55904

Lighthouse Low Vision Products
938 Andresen Drive
Escondido, CA 92029
Phone: 1-800-453-4923
Fax Number: 1-800-368-4111

Independent Living Aids
137 Rano St
Buffalo, NY 14207
Phone: 1-800-537-2118

The Low Vision Store
2200 West University Ave., #200
St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone: 651-203-2200 or 1800-871-8780
Website: www.lvsmn.com

Allied Technologies Inc.
11440 Lakeland Drive, #101
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Phone: 1-800-267-5350 or 763-425-8660

Miscellaneous

IRS (Tax exemptions for the visually impaired)
Phone: 1-800-829-1040

Division of Motor Vehicles (Drivers License Testing)
Phone: 651-297-3298

Courage Center Driving Assessment Program
Phone: 763-520-0637

Free Directory Assistance
1-800-500-3453 – for McLeod Customers
1-800-244-1111 – for Qwest Customers

Internet Resources

U of M Resource Directory for the Visually Impaired
Website: http://gellab.psych.umn.edu/links.html

Vision Loss Resources
Phone: 612-871-2222
Website: www.visionlossresources.org

American Foundation for the Blind
Phone: 1-800-232-5463
Website: www.AFB.org

Lighthouse International
Phone: 1-800-829-0500
Website: www.lighthouse.org

Books on Tape, Inc.

Customer Service: 1-800-733-3000
Website: www.booksontape.com

National Federation of the Blind
Phone: 410-659-9314
Website: www.nfb.org