Low Vision Specialists, in Garden City & Southampton, NY
We Focus on Helping Patients with Visual Impairments
Clear eyesight is integral to your quality of life. With expert treatment and genuine care for all patients, Dr. Steven Schoenbart and our entire optometric team will manage your ocular condition to maximize your vision. We strive to give you the sharpest vision possible – so you enjoy life to its fullest!
Dedicated to our patients in Long Island and New York for close to a decade, we are the leading provider of eye care services for the visually impaired in the region. Our optometric offices are equipped with cutting-edge technology, and Dr. Schoenbart keeps pace with the rapid advances in medicine. When you entrust your eye care to us, you’ll benefit from detailed diagnoses and progressive treatments. We also stock a full range of attractive eyeglasses and premium contact lenses to support your vision prescription.
Low Vision can be caused by a number of disorders. If you have Macular Degeneration (Wet or Dry), Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Glaucoma, Albinism or Juvenile Macular Degeneration (Stargardt’s Disease), we will examine your ocular tissues thoroughly. Early detection of any changes is critical for managing eye disease and preventing vision loss. With superior accuracy, Dr. Schoenbart will inspect your eyes to monitor the status and development of your ocular condition
Meet Our Low Vision Specialist, Dr. Steven Schoenbart
Meet Dr. Steven Schoenbart our low vision specialist. Dr. Schoenbart has been serving the needs of low vision patients in NYC and Long Island in private practice since 1988.
Dr. Schoenbart is New York State Certified in Low Vision-Rehabilitative Optometry to help patients who have decreased vision due to eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, optic atrophy, post-cataract surgery as well as post-stroke patients.
Dr. Schoenbart was selected twice to serve on the Medical Advisory board for the Department of Motor Vehicles in the State of New York. He has served as president of the Nassau County Optometric Society as well as on its board.
What is Low Vision
Low vision is significant vision impairment that usually results from serious eye disease or an injury. The vision loss, which is characterized by either reduced visual acuity (to 20/70 or worse) or reduced field of view, can’t be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery.
Low vision can affect both children and adults, but is more common in the elderly, who are at greater risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, which are some of the most common causes of the condition.
Patients with low vision may have complete central or peripheral vision loss, blurry vision, poor low-light vision, loss of light sensitivity and/or loss of contrast, making daily activities such as writing, watching TV, driving or reading difficult or impossible. Since the vision loss can’t be corrected, low vision requires significant adjustments to daily life and the help of techniques and specialized low vision aids to help you maximize your remaining vision to increase independence and quality of life.
What are the causes of Low Vision?
- Eye diseases such as: glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa
- Eye injury or brain injury
Living With Low Vision
How does low vision affect eyesight?
Low vision is partial vision loss which varies from person to person. Depending on the severity and type of vision impairment, the patient may have some useful vision. Typically the impairment includes a significant reduction in visual acuity to worse than 20/70, hazy, blurred vision, blind spots or significant visual field loss and tunnel vision. Sometimes the extent of vision loss is considered to be legal blindness (20/200 or less visual acuity in the better eye) or almost total blindness.
How does low vision affect daily life?
With significant vision loss it can become challenging to complete common daily tasks including reading, writing, cooking and housework, watching television, driving or even recognizing people.
When low vision is diagnosed it can come as a shock. Initially, it is an adjustment to learn how to function with impaired vision but the good news is there are numerous resources and products available to assist. Because low vision often results in one’s inability to work, function independently, drive and resume normal life, many patients feel isolated and depressed.
Macular degeneration is the most common disease associated with low vision. Over 2 million Americans suffer from macular degeneration in its variety of forms; Wet AMD, Dry AMD, and Juvenile macular degeneration.
Visit our macular degeneration page for information about the different forms of the disease, treatment, exams, and prevention tips.
Our eye doctor has been treating macular degeneration patients from New York and New Jersey for 30 years and is highly involved in the subject.
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are many ways to lower your risks, prevent progression, and alter your lifestyle to live a more fulfilling life with the disease.
Click here to visit our Macular Degeneration Page.
Juvenile Macular Degeneration
Juvenile macular degeneration are hereditary diseases that affect the macula of the eye causing vision loss. Similar to age related macular degeneration, juvenile macular degeneration differs in that it effects people as young as 3 years old. There is no cure for it, and in some cases the onset of vision loss can be extremely rapid. Due to the age of the patients, the effects are particularly traumatic, therefore it is vital to visit a specialist to help the patient understand the full range of options to help them retain their independence.
There are three main types of juvenile macular degeneration:
- Stargardt’s Disease
- Best Disease
- Juvenile Retinoschisis
Click here to learn more about JMD.
Driving With Low Vision
Will I be able to drive again?
This is one of the most frequent questions our eye doctor receives from his low vision patients. Driving is an integral part of our independence, going shopping, visiting grand kids, or just driving to socialize with your friends. People with low vision all of a sudden become reliant on family and friends which puts them in a situation where they feel they are burdening others and are limited in their lifestyle options.
The good news is that the state of New York allows for driving with Bioptic telescopes if the driver meets the vision requirements with the bioptics.
Since central vision loss effects the drivers ability to see small objects such as traffic lights or stop signs, which can limit their ability to drive safely. The concept of Bioptics is take small binocular telescopes which magnify the smaller objects by tilting your head to see.
To use bioptic telescope glasses for driving in New York State the DMV has outlined specific regulations.
Visit our low vision driving page for more information.
How To Make Life With Low Vision Easier
- Ensure that you have adequate lighting in your home. This may require some trial and error with different lights and voltages to determine what works best for you.
- Use a magnifier. There is a vast selection of magnifiers available, ranging from hand-held to stand magnifiers. Binoculars and spectacle mounted magnifiers are also an option.
- Your optometrist or low vision specialist can recommend specialized lens tints for certain conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or cataracts, which enhance vision or reduce light sensitivity.
- Use large print books for reading. Alternatively, try digital recordings or mp3s.
- Make use of high contrast for writing. Try writing in large letters with a broad black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
- Adding a high-contrast stripe on steps (bright color on dark staircase, or black stripe on light stairs) can prevent falls in people with low vision, and may enable them to remain independent in their home.
- Find out what other technology is available to help make your life simpler.
The many advances in technology have given a new option for people with low vision to live a normal and productive life using state of the art telescopes. These telescopes are attached to your glasses and depending on your particular need may make driving, playing cards, grocery shopping, and spending time with your love ones, and any of the many activities you used to enjoy much easier to do.
What are Telescopes for Low Vision?
If you have low vision due to macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, or other diseases, prescription glasses do not provide you the necessary vision to perform every day activities. Your eye doctor may recommend telescopes that sit on your prescription eye wear and perform task specific jobs to improve your vision. One example of the benefits of telescopes for low vision is telescopes that allow the visually impaired to meet the driving requirements and become mobile and independent.
What are the Different Types of Low Vision Telescopes?
There are many different types of telescopes available for patients with low vision. They are chosen based on the needs of the patient and the task the patient wishes to be able to do again. As our eye doctor likes to say, "A low vision telescope should be viewed as a technologically sophisticated tool to allow a patient with visual impairment to perform specific desired tasks".
Click here for to learn more about telescopes for low vision.
Implantable Telescope for Macular Degeneration
What is an Implantable Miniature Telescope?
The innovations in science and technology has brought about amazing innovation for people with advanced macular degeneration. CentraSight has the worlds first implantable telescope for patients with end stage macular degeneration. The telescope is implanted in one eye, making that eye responsible for center vision and providing magnification of between 2.2 and 2.7, while the other eye provides side vision. The benefit of this system over telescopic glasses is that you can use natural eye movements to see both near and far. The surgery takes around 1 hour, and following the surgery your eye doctor will provide training on how to adapt your eye site to the new method of sight.
Is the Implant Effective?
In clinical trials over 90% improved their vision by 2 lines, and the average was between 3-4 lines of improvement. Patients who have had this implant have reported that it has changed their lives for the better, allowing them to once again enjoy their hobbies, be independent, and see their loved ones.
Schedule an appointment with our low vision specialist to find out if CentraSight is right for you.
Low vision means that a minimal amount of sight remains intact. There are millions of people who suffer from the condition and manage to function with the remaining vision available to them through the use of visual rehabilitation or visual aids.
What are visual aids?
These are devices that help people with low vision function by maximizing remaining eyesight. This often involves the use of magnifiers (handheld, mounted or stand-alone), telescopes and other tools to enlarge the images of objects to make them more visible. Some visual aids reduce glare and enhance contrast which makes it easier to see. Other low vision aids act as guides to help the person focus on non-visual cues, such as sound or feel. Finding the right visual aid is a matter of consulting with a professional and experimenting with what works for you and your daily needs.
Low Vision Aids for Computer Users
Using a computer can become quite a challenge for the visually impaired. Simple tasks like reading an email, navigating to your web browser, and using a mouse become insurmountable obstacles. Luckily there are amazing solutions for the visually challenged patient. One of the latest releases is Zoom Text, which allows easy maneuverability, size adjustment, and even reading of the text.
Click here for more information on low vision aids for computer users