Vision rehabilitation for Canadians with less than 20/40 acuity: the SmartSight model

Can J Ophthalmol. 2006 Jun;41(3):355-61. doi: 10.1139/I06-021.


Traditionally, vision rehabilitation was directed towards patients who were blind or had very low vision. There is increasing evidence that less severe vision loss is associated with increased risk of falls, hip fractures, medication errors, poor nutrition, reduced physical activity, social isolation, clinical depression, longer hospitalizations, and mortality. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2003 SmartSight initiative in low vision rehabilitation outlined a model of graduated low vision interventions. This paper is a review of the AAO SmartSight model and how it can apply in the Canadian setting. All patients with visual acuity less than 20/40, a scotoma, field loss, or loss of contrast sensitivity would be offered information about available low vision rehabilitation. Eye physicians would be encouraged to communicate with other health care providers to coordinate existing services and integrate graduated services. Enhanced communication among caregivers about the consequences of vision loss, such as depression, falls, and visual hallucinations, could help ensure that all patients who would benefit receive appropriate vision rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Health Plan Implementation
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • United States
  • Vision, Low / physiopathology*
  • Vision, Low / rehabilitation*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Visually Impaired Persons / rehabilitation*