Vision Rehabilitation

Vision Rehabilitation Committee Purpose and Historical Perspective

Purpose

Certified low vision optometrists of Michigan are committed to the provision of the highest level of care to visually impaired patients. These optometrists keep abreast of state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, develop rehabilitation plans with related professionals, and serve as advocates for the blind and visually impaired. By helping the visually impaired reach functional visual potentials, vision rehabilitation specialists assist in the achievement of educational, career, vocational and independent living goals.

History

In the early 1970s, the Michigan Services for the Blind, then in the Department of Social Services (transferred to the Department of Labor in 1978) and now known as the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, became increasingly aware of the vital need to provide quality low vision care for vocational rehabilitation of visually impaired (legally blind) clients. Subsequently, close communication was established with the Michigan Optometric Association which developed an optometric vision rehabilitation certification program to be administered by a college of optometry. Through certification, interested optometric practitioners could demonstrate their expertise and commitment to low vision rehabilitation.

The certified low vision specialists of Michigan play active roles as consultants to state agencies such as the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, Michigan Rehabilitation Services and the State of Michigan, as well as many intermediate school districts. They contribute to interdisciplinary clinical and teaching facilities such as the Michigan College of Optometry, the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies at Western Michigan University, the Optometric Institute and Clinic of Metro Detroit, William Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak, the Saginaw Valley Special Needs Vision Clinic of Saginaw, The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Rapids, the Greater Detroit Agency for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor and the Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Taylor.

The Michigan Optometric Association Vision Rehabilitation Committee maintains close contact with the American Optometric Association Vision Rehabilitation Advocacy Network and other state and national interdisciplinary organizations that serve the blind and visually impaired such as the American Public Health Association and Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The first Michigan low vision certification examinations were administered by Daniel Gerstman, O.D., Ph.D., and the late John R. Levine, O.D., Ph.D. Original certificates were:

  • Gordon Deur, O.D. Zeeland, MI (Deceased)
  • Ernest Gaynes, O.D., F.A.A.O., Diplomate, Low Vision, Detroit, MI (Deceased)
  • Arnold H. Gordon, O.D. , Royal Oak, MI (Deceased)
  • Max M. Honeyman, O.D., Low Vision Specialist Emeritus, Sarasota, FL (Deceased)
  • Edwin Novak, O.D., M.A., F.A.A.O., Flint, MI (Deceased)
  • Phillip Raznik, O.D., Bingham Farms, MI (Inactive)
  • Roger R. Seelye, O.D., Owosso, MI (Inactive)



With the establishment of the Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, low vision certification testing was conducted by C. Allyn Uniacke, O.D., Ph.D., member of the college faculty.