Category: Conditions

Cataract Surgery- What to Expect?

This surgery is used to remove a cataract. During the procedure, the cloudy lens in your eye is replaced with an artificial lens that will let you see clearly. This procedure is sometimes called “no-needle, no-stitch” cataract surgery. It’s quick, painless, and you can go home the same day.

When do you need cataract surgery?

Cataracts can be age-related and may occur from the age of 40 and up. Generally visual impairment from age-related cataracts can occur over the age of 60. Cataracts can also form from diseases such as diabetes, through injury or surgery, and even from prolonged exposure to sunlight. If you are experiencing symptoms such as blurred vision, halos or difficulty seeing at night, then it may be time to visit your eye care specialist who will access whether you have cataracts and if you require surgery.

How long does cataract surgery take?

Simple cataract removal can be as short as 10 minutes. However, the procedure may take anywhere from 30-60 minutes as patients need to recover from sedation or anesthesia. Cataract operations are out-patient procedures and patients may go home the same day.

Is cataract surgery painful?

Cataracts are rarely painful. Patients may feel some discomfort and pressure in the eye. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops for the first week following surgery.

How long can you drive after cataract surgery?

Generally patients may drive 24 hours after cataract surgery with full recovery from anesthesia.

How long does it take to recover?

Overall recovery of cataract surgery is typically one week. Be careful not to lift heavy things or getting water directly in the eye for one week. The visual recovery is very quick, most patients see well a day or two after surgery.

Blindness from Cataracts? Five Questions Answered

1. Did you know that cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in the US and even worldwide?

Caused by a clouding of the lens in the eye, cataracts can result in vision loss and have a major impact on quality of life. Cataract-related visual impairment can take away a person’s independence and ability to do every day tasks like drive, cook, or even read.

2. Who is at risk and what are the causes?

Cataracts are not just found in the elderly. Although it may not affect vision at this stage, early signs of cataracts can occur from age 40 and up. Cataracts become progressive and debilitating with age, where almost half of Americans are estimated to have cataracts by the age of 65. Through population-based studies, USC Roski clinicians have also found that a projected 180,000 U.S. Latinos aged 40 and over nationwide have an unmet need for cataract surgery.

Cataracts can be caused by many factors including diseases such as diabetes, exposure to UV light or even smoking and alcohol use. Obesity, high blood pressure, eye injury, or surgery can also result in cataracts.

3. What are the signs?

It is important to recognize the signs. An eye exam is essential if you see halos of light, blurred or poor vision at night, double vision in a single eye or fading yellow of colors. In general, while these symptoms could be related to cataracts, visiting a skilled eye specialist for an evaluation is key to ensuring healthy vision.

4. How to prevent cataracts?

Healthy vision can come from leading a health lifestyle. Quit smoking, eat a well-balanced diet and take care of your health issues by seeing a physician regularly.

5. Cataract surgery – what to expect?

USC Roski cataract surgeons offer the latest advanced technology in cataract extraction. Typically cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, lasting 30-60 minutes. Cataract surgery entails performing a lens exchange; the surgeon replaces the cloudy cataract lens with a clear lens implant.

In addition to standard lenses, we also offer our patients a large selection of premium lenses that are customizable including, mutifocal, toric and accommodative lenses. USC Roski Eye offers a minimally invasive technique such as femtosecond laser cataract surgery (custom laser cataract surgery) procedure, which allows for more precision in lens removal and gives surgeons the opportunity to treat corneal astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery.

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

Please contact our USC Roski Eye Institute cataract specialists today if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above. The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!


  • Richter GM et al. Prevalence of Visually Significant Cataract and Factors Associated with Unmet Need for Cataract Surgery: Los Angeles Latino Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2009, 116: 2327-2335.

Harmful UV Light Can Cause Eye Damage & Blindness

What do all of these conditions have in common? UV light, UVA, UVB and UVC, is powerful radiation from the sun that can damage your eyes.

Type of Ocular Condition Image
Photokeratitis– Caused by swelling of the cornea, outer most aspect of the eye, results in redness, swelling, blurred vision and pain.
Pinguecula– Often referred to as surfer’s eye, white or yellow raised bumps are found on the conjunctiva, or white part of the eye.
Pterygium– This growth extends beyond the conjunctiva and on to the cornea, and many require surgery. This condition is often found in those who live closer to the equator.
Cataracts– As the leading cause of preventable blindness, this condition which can be removed surgically, results in a cloudiness of the lens of the eye and cause blurred vision, halos of light, poor vision at night, among other symptoms.
Macular Degeneration– With no known cure, this retinal degenerative disease results in central vision loss, where those diagnosed are unable to drive, read or even recognize faces.
Skin Cancer– Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma are all examples of skin cancers. Most are found on the lower lid. 5-10% of all skin cancers are melanomas.
Eye Cancer– Eye cancers include intraocular melanoma and conjunctival melanoma. While rare, conjunctival melanoma has become more common, with 10% prevalence among white men.

Tips to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun and Prevent Sun Damage!

  • Ensure you purchase sunglasses with the UV protection label
  • Make sure they fit well to prevent exposure to residual sunlight
  • Bring a pair with you wherever you go!

UV damage can lead to serious skin and eye cancer. Looks for lumps or bumps, pigmentation, elevated growths, bleeding, etc. Any of these symptoms could be a sign of melanoma.

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

Please contact our USC Roski ocular oncology team today if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above. The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

Sunglasses, Sunglasses, Sunglasses!

A great pair of sunglasses goes a long way! We have two conveniently located optical shops on campus to help you find your perfect pair. No appointment necessary! If you’re looking for prescription sunglasses, our on-site lab can have your lenses ready in as little as 24 hours!

Crossed Eyes (Strabismus) – Causes and Treatments – A Q&A with Dr. Patel

Harand before and after

What is Strabismus?

Michael-strab testimonial

Strabismus is a general term used to describe any misalignment of the eyes. It can occur in the context of childhood eye diseases (amblyopia or “lazy eye), or problems acquired in adulthood, including trauma, thyroid eye disease, nerve damage, or neurological disorders. Strabismus can be very debilitating, mainly from double vision. Importantly, strabismus can be an early sign of severe ocular, orbital or neurological disease.

What Causes Crossed Eyes in Children?

In some cases strabismus can be inherited (congenital) or result from vision-related problems. In addition, since approximately half of the brain is involved in vision, certain neurological conditions can also cause strabismus, resulting from disordered communication between the brain and the muscles that move the eyes. Vision in children is highly sensitive to refractive errors (nearsightedness and farsightedness) and may also cause strabismus if left untreated.

What Causes Crossed Eyes in Adults?

Like in children, strabismus in adults can be inherited and may worsen over time. As such, we have helped many adults who have had complications or recurrences despite previous strabismus surgeries in the past. Adult strabismus may also result from neurological conditions such as stroke, tumors, degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, to name a few. We specialize in evaluating the nature and cause of strabismus in adults, as well as developing an appropriate plan for intervention.

What Treatments are Available for Strabismus?

Strab before and after 2
Children and adults may be treated differently. In children, strabismus can often be corrected using eye patching, eyeglasses, vision therapy and surgery. In adults, special lenses such as prisms can correct or improve double vision in some cases; however, surgery may also be required to correct the misalignment. Over the past few decades, strabismus surgery has advanced considerably. Here at USC we have the necessary experience and expertise to address even the most complex cases, using the latest techniques and up-to-date practices.

USC Roski Eye Institute Neuro-Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus Service


Vivek R. Patel, MD, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology Service and Adult Strabismus specialist. He is also co-principal investigator for a $4 million grant from the National Eye Institute (NEI), leading a multidisciplinary team of investigators studying the relationship between the brain and blinding eye diseases.

Gokoffski website final

Kimberly K. Gokoffski, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus specialist. Her doctoral work and current active research investigations focus on exploring the use of electrical fields to guide regenerating nerves in the context of optic nerve disease. She is funded by the NEI’s K-grant system of mentored original research.

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

Please contact our USC Roski adult strabismus team today to treat misalignment of your eyes or double vision. The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

To learn more about a new funding initiative for children’s strabismus surgery or for donations, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

LASIK Testimonial: When the Doctor Becomes the Patient

Berry LASIK cover final

So….eye doctors, in general, don’t get Lasik. Or Lasek. Most of them have seen too many contact lens complications to even wear those. When you deal with all the complications you tend to forget about the 99.99% of people who do just fine. Recently, USC Roski Eye Institute’s Dr. Jesse Berry decided to take the plunge and get LASIK (as the residents looked on with wide-eyed wonderment). Her only regret? She didn’t do it sooner!

Dr. Berry took a moment to sound off with us below:

Why did you decide to get LASIK?

Mostly because I was sick of being attached to contact lenses and glasses. With my too-busy professional women life balancing work and personal life, I was also wearing contacts for 18 hours a day, most days of the week. My eyes started to be irritated by them and I wasn’t willing to be dependent on glasses so I looked for alternatives.

Who did your procedure?

One of USC Roski Eye Institute’s voluntary faculty members, Dr. Gregg Feinerman, while he was hosting a refractive surgery seminar for the residents.

How long did the procedure last?

The procedure was about seven minutes per eye! It was so fast, completely painless, and I saw better IMMEDIATELY after.

What was recovery like?

I operated the next day! Before LASIK without glasses or contact lenses beforehand I was 20/400 or worse, I was about 20/60 immediately after. I felt a little scratchy but pretty ok. By the time I went to bed I was 20/30 and I woke up 20/15 (I am not even kidding!)

Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

100%. My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier! It has changed my whole life and I am so happy to not be linked to contacts all the time!


To learn more about Dr. Berry’s journey, please click here.

Dr_Berry_New_Headshot-MF (1)
Dr. Jesse Berry
is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the USC Roski Eye Institute, and specializes in ocular oncology, melanoma, and retinoblastoma.

Poor Mascara Removal Leads to Eye Lesions and Serious Infection

Clumpy Mascara final

For over 25 years, a woman admitted to using excessive mascara each day without completely removing it at night before she slept. Complaining of feelings that something was in her eye, the 50-year-old sought help from her ophthalmologist. After a thorough eye exam, the ophthalmologist discovered dark pigmented depositions on the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane lining the inside of the eyelid. In addition, the ophthalmologist noted eye lesions or sub-conjunctival concretions. Following a biopsy of the conjunctiva, results of which were published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology, physicians found deposits of mascara as well as evidence of conjunctivitis or infection.

“It is important to ensure you wash your hands and clean around your eyes regularly to prevent infections from occurring. Having treated cases like this often, infections can lead to very serious consequences and in some cases even vision loss,” says Charles Flowers, MD, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at USC Roski Eye Institute and cornea specialist.

Tips to Preventing Eye Infections

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or face
  • Do not share your makeup, face towels, or any eye drops
  • Remove your makeup thoroughly before bed and do not reuse make up if you have had an eye infection to prevent it from reoccurring
  • Thoroughly clean your contact lenses, store in clean containers, and use fresh solutions without sharing
  • Wear protective eyewear outdoors or in a workplace where there may be hazards
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you notice symptoms of a suspected eye infection
  • Always use protection to prevent STI

Infections of the Eye

Infections of the eye can occur in one or both eyes and in individuals of all ages. Typically, those who have ocular infections may describe redness, irritation, discharge, swelling around the eyelid and eye, pain and possible loss in vision.

Type of Ocular Infection

Area of Inflammation

Conjunctivitis Surface of the eye
Blepharitis Eyelid
Keratitis Cornea, the transparent outermost part of the eye
Uveitis Uvea, the inner layer of the eye
Vitritis “Jelly-like” ocular fluid in the eye
Neuroretinitis Optic nerve and retina

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

Eye infections can be viral, bacterial or even fungal. Please see your eye care specialist if you suspect that you may have an infection, are experiencing irritation or pain in your eye. The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

To learn more about the health services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

By: Debbie Mitra, PhD

Rare Eye Cancer Cases Found in Two States Leave Physicians Perplexed

Melanoma 3Several people in both Alabama and North Carolina have been diagnosed with a rare eye cancer known as ocular melanoma. Although found in only 6 out of 1 million in the US, dozens of ocular melanomas were diagnosed in mostly women 20 to 30 years of age.

Interestingly, through the use of social media, multiple cases were discovered through websites formed by groups from Auburn University, Alabama as well as in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Similar to skin cancer, the melanin or pigmented cells within your eye can also mutate and cause melanoma in or around the eye although this only accounts for about 5% of cases. Specifically uveal melanoma, or melanoma on the inside of the eye, was discovered in these cases. Such rare melanomas are generally seen in patients between 50 and 60 years of age. Ongoing investigations by physicians have not yet revealed the cause for this unusual geographical collection of cases.

“These reported cases are bizarre in both the incidence and how young the patients are. I applaud the work that is being done to find a common thread, however given the rarity of the disease this will be difficult even in the setting of a localized spike,” says ocular oncologist, Jesse L Berry, MD and assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at the USC Roski Eye Institute.

Unlike skin cancer, which can be caused by sun damage, identifying the causes of eye cancers has been a challenge. Research has revealed that certain eye cancers can be hereditary or caused by random genetic mutations. Depending on the severity of the eye cancer, treatment options may include radiation via brachytherapy or with proton beam, or even removal of the eye.

Possible symptoms related to uveal melanomas generally include: blurring, distortion or loss of vision, shadow over vision which may come and go, as well as flashes and floaters.

“This is a devastating disease that can lead to blindness and even death if not appropriately diagnosed and treated early – and many of these tumors are asymptomatic so a complete dilated exam by an ophthalmologist is necessary to diagnose melanoma. Bringing awareness to this rare disease through social media platforms can give physicians and epidemiologists more information on the incidence of this disease in hopes of one day finding a cure, “ says Dr. Berry.

If you would like to learn about retinoblastoma, another eye cancer that occurs in children, and the development of a novel liquid biopsy method by Dr. Berry’s team please follow the link below:

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected from diabetes-related conditions, please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

To learn more about the health services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

By: Debbie Mitra, PhD



USC Roski Eye Institute Researchers Report First Results in Stem Cell-Based Clinical Trial for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration


Researchers, clinicians, scientists from the USC Roski Eye Institute and collaborators report encouraging results of a first-in-kind stem-cell based implant in a featured article in Science Translational Medicine entitled, “A Bioengineered Retinal Pigment Epithelial Monolayer for Advanced, Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration.”

The novel minimally invasive stem cell-based therapy for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was developed by a team at USC Roski Eye Institute, led by Mark S. Humayun MD, PhD, and David R. Hinton, MD, which was funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The implant consists of stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium cells (RPE) on an ultrathin synthetic substrate. The implanted scaffold of RPE are localized and can function to support and replenish light sensing cells of the eye, which would help restore and prevent vision loss in patients with AMD.

“This is the first human trial of this novel stem cell–based implant, which is designed to replace a single-cell layer that degenerates in patients with dry age-related macular degeneration,” says lead author and surgeon for the study Amir H. Kashani, MD, PhD, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This implant has the potential to stop the progression of the disease or even improve patients’ vision. Proving its safety in humans is the first step in accomplishing that goal.”

Photo courtesy of Britney O. Pennington, PhD
Photo courtesy of Britney O. Pennington, PhD

The first results of the phase I/IIa clinical trial conducted at the USC Roski Eye Institute has been reported on four patients which were followed up to one year to assess safety. It was determined that the implant is safe and integrates well with the patient’s retinal tissue. One patient had improvement in visual acuity by up to 17 letters and two patients had gains in visual function, which was measured by how well they could use the area of the retina treated by the implant. None of the patients showed evidence of progression in vision loss.

Dry AMD can have a profound affect on the quality of life of an individual. In time as the disease progresses, patients will be unable to recognize faces, read or even drive. It is projected that over 3 million will be diagnosed with dry AMD by 2020.

“Our study shows that this unique stem cell–based retinal implant thus far is well-tolerated, and preliminary results suggest it may help people with advanced dry age-related macular degeneration,” says coauthor and lead inventor of the implant Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD, director of the USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics, co-director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, affiliate principal investigator with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC and University Professor of Ophthalmology at the Keck School.

Stem Cell AMD blog final

Other USC researchers include Biju B. Thomas, PhD; Debbie Mitra, PhD; and Danhong Zhu, MD, PhD.

Collaborating institutions for the study include Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC, which also contributed to the funding of the study, as well as Camtek LLC, the California Institute of Technology, Retina Vitreous Associates Medical Group, California Retina Consultants, Atlantis Eyecare, City of Hope, University of California, Santa Barbara and Denney Research Center. Additional sources of funding for the study include Lori Mars and David Fields Gift, Estate of Beatrice Apple, William K. Bowes Foundation, Vermont Community Foundation, Breaux Foundation, Wilcox Family Foundation and Research to Prevent Blindness.

For more information about the study, visit To participate in the study, please call (323) 442-6335.


Disclosures: Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC was founded by Mark Humayun, MD, PhD, and David R. Hinton, MD, from Keck Medicine of USC and Dennis O. Clegg, PhD, from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The technology to produce the stem cell–based retinal implant is exclusively licensed to Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC from the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Humayun and Hinton have an equity interest in and are consultants for Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC.

AMD Awareness Month- Q&A with Dr. Amir Kashani

AMD blog photo

What is AMD?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a devastating retinal degenerative disease that affects the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision. Those who suffer from this progressive disease are unable to drive, read or recognize faces. In AMD, vision loss is the result of the death or dysfunction of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) that provide nutrients and support to the light sensing photoreceptor cells in the eye.

There are two forms of AMD: wet and dry. In the wet form of macular degeneration (known as choroidal neovascularization or CNV), abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula and retina. Fluid from leakage of these blood vessels accumulates and cause vision loss or distorted vision. In dry AMD (non-neovascular form) small yellow deposits form beneath the retina, which can ultimately lead to geographic atrophy (GA) or the advanced form of dry AMD. Dry AMD is the most prevalent form of macular degeneration and can be stable for many years without vision loss. Patients diagnosed with GA have severe loss of vision and a tangible impact on quality of life. To date, there is no cure or known treatment options for GA.

Who is at Risk?

In general the global burden of AMD remains substantial as a result of the aging population. Globally, the projected prevalence of AMD in 2020 is 196 million, increasing to 288 million in 2040. The main risk factors for AMD are age and race. Among Americans of European decent, the prevalence of AMD is projected to rise to nearly 5.44 million by 2050 according to reports from the National Eye Institute. A significant increase in the rate of AMD amongst minority populations has also been observed. Most notably, a six-fold rise of AMD has been reported in persons of Hispanic decent.

Other risk factors for AMD include positive family history, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity.

How is AMD Diagnosed?

Pay attention to the signs of early disease including distorted vision and your risk factors for developing AMD. Please make an appointment to see your eye care specialist at least once a year if you are over 40 years of age, if you are at risk as a result of ocular and medical history, family history, age, or race and especially if you are noticing vision loss. Your ophthalmologist or optometrist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam, which will include dilated eye exams, visual acuity, and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Following a thorough assessment, your physician will work closely with you to determine the best course of action.

Are There Treatments for AMD?

RPE patch (white) implanted in the subretinal space.
RPE patch (white) implanted in the subretinal space.

In general there is no known cure for AMD. However, for the wet form of AMD, drug treatment options include anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) therapies. Such therapies reduce the level of VEGF, a protein known to stimulate abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina and macula. These drugs are administered as injections directly into the eye.

Thus far there is no FDA approved treatment available for dry AMD. USC vision researchers, Dr. Mark Humayun and David Hinton, funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, have recently developed a novel stem cell-based therapy for the treatment of advanced dry AMD. The treatment consists of a patch of RPE cells derived from stem cells that is grown onto a polymer scaffold and implanted behind the diseased portion of the eye. A clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate this potential treatment at USC and is led by Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, Dr. Amir Kashani. Enrollment in the phase I/IIa clinical trial is ongoing for this stem cell-based treatment.

To learn more, please visit: +dry&rank=1.

Dr. Kashani specializes in complicated retinal detachment repair, recurrent retinal detachment repair, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, macular pucker, retinal vein occlusions, and hypertension related eye disease.


  1. Wong WL, Su X, Li X, et al. Global Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Disease Burden Projection for 2020 and 2040: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Lancet Glob Heal. 2014;2(2):106-116. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70145-1.
  2. Congdon N, O’Colmain B, Klaver CC, et al; Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group. Causes and Prevalence of Visual Impairment Among Adults in the United States. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(4):477-485.
  3. Varma R, Fraser-Bell S, Tan S, Klein R, Azen SP; Los Angeles Latino Eye Study Group. Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Latinos: The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2004;111(7):1288-1297.

Vision Rehabilitation Services- Offering Hope to Patients with Low Vision

Q&A with Dr. Rachel Young, Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology

Rachel Young, OD, offers vision rehabilitation services
Rachel Young, OD, offers vision rehabilitation services

What is low vision and who qualifies?

Those who suffer from low vision experience a dramatic decrease in quality of life, as a result of decreased visual acuity, contrast sensitivity or poor visual fields. Generally, patients who have a visual acuity of 20/70 or worse in the better seeing eye, restricted visual fields, are no longer able to correct their vision through prescription glasses, contact lenses or medical intervention qualify as a low vision patient. Many serious eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa can cause low vision.

What does quality of life mean?

Quality of life is an indicator of how well an individual is able to effectively and independently carry out daily activities such as driving, reading, cooking and cleaning. It is not just about reading the small print, those who suffer from low vision can experience depression and anxiety without some form of intervention.

What is low vision rehabilitation?

At the USC Roski Eye Institute we believe in a personalized-care approach. Each patient I meet will have a customized plan according to his or her own unique lifestyle. General components such as determination of difficulties in activities of daily life, functional vision and visual field assessments are all a part of the initial evaluation. Based on the results, we will devise a plan that is best suited for you, which may include visual aids as well as counseling or training to improve quality of life.

What kind of treatments or devices are available?

After determining an appropriate eyeglass prescription and other factors such as contrast sensitivity, I discuss with the patient which device or assistive technology would be best suited to enhance their ability to perform daily tasks. I train patients on how to use devices offered by the eye institute such as magnifiers or telescopes. As well, I teach patients how to use assistive technologies like cell phones or tablets. USC Roski Eye Institute has also had a long-standing relationship with visual aid partners and many community organizations to offer additional resources.

Are there changes we can make now to improve our quality of life with low vision?

There are many things you can do to navigate and perform tasks better on a daily basis. You can find several tips on our website but here are a few things you can try:

  1. Improve lighting and never work in a dark room
  2. To reduce glare use shades or covers for shiny surfaces
  3. Color code things
  4. Use scissors in the kitchen in place of knives
  5. Use pill organizers for medication
  6. Download menus on your tablet before going to the restaurant
  7. Order large print labels from the pharmacy, financial statements or checks