32415 Five Mile Road
Livonia, Michigan 48154
One way to maintain a senior’s quality of life is to keep them involved and doing things they love as long as possible. For some seniors, vision loss due to diseases, such as Macular Degeneration, can make some of these things feel impossible, but the doctors at Suburban Eye Care, located in Livonia, want to help with the latest technology and techniques.
“In our low vision center, we help adults who can no longer do the things visually that they want to do,” says Susan Ackerson, project manager for Suburban Eye Care. “We discuss what our patients want to do, like playing cards, driving, reading, or sewing, and the doctor and patient work together to determine how best to continue or restore ability to do those specific tasks.”
“When looking at a patient, we don’t just see a pair of eyes; we see the person behind them who wants to engage in life and maintain independence. We help the patient when we help restore function in their lives,” Ackerson says.
Patients with vision loss, or ‘low vision’, should have two doctors: an ophthalmologist who addresses the medical side of their vision and an optometrist specializing in low vision who can address the functional side of their vision impairment.
Suburban Eye Care’s Low Vision Optometrist Dr. John Jacobi listens to his patients concerns and asks direct and pointed questions about what they want to do, Ackerson says. He can help customize devices that make seeing and completing tasks easier and hands-free, such as bioptic telescopes, full diameter telescopes and E scoop glasses, in addition to vision rehabilitation techniques that patients to utilize remaining pockets of healthy vision.
“There is a certain level of commitment from the patients. They can do exercises that can be used to direct the way they see things, and proper illumination and nutritional counseling are also key to a patient’s success. It’s willingness from the patient and coaching from Dr. Jacobi that best helps patients to be successful,” Ackerson says.
Many patients are referred to the low vision doctors when their vision is already very poor. Patients would ideally visit a Low Vision Optometrist when they notice they are having trouble performing regular tasks or participating in activities. Low vision can impact a senior’s independence and confidence – and even cause anxiety over things like reading a menu in a restaurant or navigating stairs in an unfamiliar environment.
“It’s important for us to get the patients in here sooner,” Ackerson says. “Having low vision really does start to make a person’s world much smaller and we want to help keep that window open and keep folks doing the things they love by engaging with loved ones and treasured activities. It’s important for people with vision loss to know that they don’t have to accept that nothing more can be done – we can do a lot!”
The Suburban Eye Care staff is able to see the transformation for those they help right in the exam room. It’s emotional for everyone, including the doctor and the patient’s family members, Ackerson says.
Dr. Jacobi collaborates with developers in order to bring the latest technology to patients. He helps to evaluate and screen the potential usefulness of advanced devices to patients with mild to severe vision loss. Although some technologies seem promising, they may be overly complex or cumbersome for most would-be users.
“Dr. Jacobi loves what he does. He’s just so passionate about helping people visually do what they want to do,” Ackerson says. “He wants to keep them functioning and engaged in their lives. It’s a privilege to work with these patients.”
To learn more about the services offered at Suburban Eye Care, or to schedule an appointment, visit the Suburban Eye Care website.