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June 1, 2005

Ophthalmologists’ Referrals Improve the Lives of Visually Impaired Patients

Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(6):872-873. doi:10.1001/archopht.123.6.872-b

I was pleased to see that the April 2004 issue of the ARCHIVES was devoted to blindness, a topic that receives short shrift in the medical literature.

That ophthalmologists play a crucial role in helping people who are visually impaired or blind is obvious. After these individuals leave their ophthalmologists’ offices with the news that there is no medical or surgical treatment to restore or maintain vision, they are virtually lost to the rehabilitation system if their ophthalmologists provide no referrals. A nationwide study1 that I conducted in the mid 1980s of ophthalmologists’ practices regarding patients who are visually impaired or blind indicated that there was much room for improvement in this area. A study2 of patients who were visually impaired or blind corroborated the finding that most of these individuals were sent away from ophthalmologists’ offices with no hope and no information about the vast array of rehabilitation services available to improve their lives.

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