Is Your Practice Low Vision “Friendly”?

By: Thomas I. Porter, OD, FAAO

Recently I took my 5 year old to the dentist – but not just a general dentist, oh no, we went to the “pediatric” dentist.   Everything in the office was child friendly from the wall coverings to the small scale chairs to reading the material in the waiting room.   The office literally shouted, “We take care of kids and we're darned good at it”!

Does your office communicate this same strong message to your low vision patients and their families? Low vision patients really appreciate having various printed office forms and materials available in a large print, high contrast format so they can be part of the entire process.  In my office we use a practice introduction letter in large print that is mailed to all of our new patients.  It describes office policies, what to expect during the visit, and what bring to the first visit as well as other key pieces of information.  Imagine the positive impact when the patient finally gets mail that they can read unassisted.  Many low vision practices have patient “intake” forms printed in large print for patients.  If you use some type of questionnaire to help with your patient history or review of systems have it available in large print format.  This will help the patients avoid “broadcasting” their entire past medical history to your entire waiting room.  Be sure you have your business card and reappointment card printed in a large format.  You will find that a 3 x 5 size business card will be appreciated as well as a fun conversation point.  One form that I think is unique to our practice is our large print “super-bill”.  We have designed a special low vision bill that includes the office and CPT codes we most commonly use in low vision care.  Everything that is handwritten on the bill is written with a bold tip black marker for added contrast.

If you want to be known as the low vision expert in your community you need to have a “Low Vision Friendly” office.  One simple, inexpensive way you can communicate this message is by rethinking and redesigning everyday office materials.