Vision Rehabilitation Committee

Vision Rehabilitation Committee Purpose and Historical Perspective


Certified low vision specialists of Michigan are committed to provision of the highest level of care to visually impaired patients. The specialists 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 achievement of educational, career, vocational and independent living goals.


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), 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 in vision rehabilitation.

The certified low vision specialists of Michigan play active roles as consultants to state agencies such as the Michigan Commission for the Blind, Michigan Rehabilitation Service 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 Vision Rehabilitation Section of the American Optometric Association 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., School of Optometry, Indiana University, in 1973 and 1974. Original certificants 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
  • Edwin Novak, O.D., M.A., F.A.A.O., Flint, MI (inactive)
  • Phillip Raznik, O.D., Bingham Farms, MI
  • Roger R. Seelye, O.D., Owosso, MI

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.

Find a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist

To access a directory of  Vision Rehabilitation Specialists in Michigan choose 'Low Vision Certified' or 'Low Vision Rehabilitation' under specialties in the MOA Doctor Locator.  This directory is divided into two parts:

Part 1 – Optometrists who have completed the voluntary Michigan Optometric Association Low Vision Certification process
Part 2 – Optometrists who practice low vision, but have not completed the voluntary Michigan Optometric Association Low Vision Certification.

Part 1: Michigan Optometric Association Certified Vision Rehabilitation Specialists


The American and Michigan Optometric Association are proud of the dedicated optometrists who practice low vision. The Michigan Optometric Association certification is designed to assist licensed, member optometrists with a dedicated interest in “low vision” to enhance their expertise and demonstrate competency in the provision of low vision care. The goal of the Michigan Optometric Association Vision Rehabilitation Committee is to promote quality and accessibility of low vision care in the state. All optometrists in the United States are authorized to practice low vision by the nature of their education and license to practice optometry. Any optometrist specializing in low vision care is encouraged to contact the MOA to be included in the list provided. Certification is a process of self-education, clinical experience; written case studies and academic proficiency contribute to the certification process. As the practice of optometry evolves the American Optometric Association as well as the American Academy of Optometry is moving towards National Board Certification for optometric specialties. The Michigan Optometric Association is at the forefront of this movement as one of the few states that provides a low vision certification program. The MOA and the Vision Rehabilitation Committee is committed to providing superior care to the people of Michigan and encourages its members to refer low vision patients to any of the vision rehabilitation specialists listed below.

The process of certification involves: 1) application, 2) case reports, 3) interview and 4) written, oral and as indicated, clinical examination. Committee members are available to mentor doctors in each phase of the process, including provision of clinical opportunities in which licensed optometrists can obtain the required patient care experiences needed to complete their case reports. To ensure that doctors have the proper capacity to provide low vision patient care, all applicants should possess adequate low vision equipment and/or devices in their office or at their disposal.

Certification represents the applicant's competency on the date of certification. The MOA has no supervisory role concerning, or responsibility for the actions of, individual optometrists, regardless of whether they obtain certification.

Eight (8) case reports must be submitted which demonstrate a doctor’s techniques in caring for a variety of low vision patient types. The case reports include patients with best corrected acuity of 20/70 or less, or a functionally significant visual field loss. The cases are representative of each of the following low vision populations: Pediatric, career/vocational, geriatric and multiply impaired. No more than two case reports may represent the same primary diagnosis. The following conditions and pathologies are among those suggested for case studies: Macular degeneration, cataracts, ocular complications of diabetes, glaucoma, corneal pathology, optic neuritis/atrophy, albinism, achromatopsia, retinitis pigmentosa, trauma, aniridia, peripheral visual field loss/hemianopsia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, retinopathy of prematurity, etc


  1. A detailed case history including discussion of the patient’s specific goals and functional concerns.
  2. Examination of the patient’s pathology and diagnosis or diagnoses.
  3. Results of visual analysis, including but not limited to best corrected acuity at distance and near, using standard forms of correction (spectacles, contact lenses) and applicable visual field information.
  4. Low vision devices tested rationale for selection of devices and results of testing.
  5. Interpretation of data, discussion of pathology and correlation to results of visual analysis.
  6. Recommendations for treatment and basis for them. Correlation with vocational and education concerns include
    1. prescription and design of devices and training procedures to assist the patient in adapting to them and
    2. non-optical concerns, counseling, orientation and mobility and other rehabilitation concerns.
  7. Follow-up care which may address success in using devices for intended purposes, modifications of devices, adjustments and additional training provided.


Certification is valid for a two-year period and subject to review by the certification committee. Continuance of certification will be dependent upon contributions to the low vision field by treatment of low vision patients, attendance at Michigan Optometric Association Vision Rehabilitation Committee meetings, low vision symposia, teaching, publications, lecture presentations and other evidence of continuing competency.


Certification may be revoked if the holder resigns from the Michigan Optometric Association or acts in any manner which violates the association’s code of ethics or standards of conduct.

Part 2: Vision Rehabilitation Specialists Who Have Not Completed the Voluntary Michigan Optometric Association Low Vision Certification.


Vision Rehabilitation Specialists who have not completed the voluntary Michigan Optometric Association Low Vision Certification are like all Doctors of Optometry in the United States who all have had introductory course work in low vision and entry-level clinical care of those with vision impairment or blindness as part of a four year graduate-professional curriculum. Many optometrists in the United States provide low vision care in varying degrees, from a dedicated low vision only practice specialty to providing low vision care in conjunction with family eye care. Low vision specialists in Michigan that are not-certified have not completed the voluntary Michigan Optometric Association Low Vision Certification process. All Optometrists practicing in the State of Michigan are welcomed to seek the certification credential that is overseen by the Vision Rehabilitation Committee of the Michigan Optometric Association. For application materials please log onto using your American Optometric Association identification number and date of birth or contact the Vision Rehabilitation Committee chair.

Certification & Recertification

The following forms are required for those optometrists seeking Certification as a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist:

For recertification, please contact for files required.