Podcast | Episode 8: Low Vision Rehabilitation with Dr. Katelyn Jordan and Sarah LaRosa

Clinical Expertise

Feb 17, 2020

Medical Reviewer: Katelyn W. Jordan, OD
Last Updated: February 22, 2022

Welcome to the Brooks Rehabilitation podcast where we talk to our rehabilitation professionals to shed light on the stellar programs and services we offer to help our patients reach their highest levels of recovery.

This week’s episode focuses on our Low Vision Rehab team! Brooks has been serving patients with Low Vision needs since 2013 thanks to the expertise of Dr. Katelyn Jordan, Optometrist and Sarah LaRosa, Occupational Therapist.

Send us an email with your questions, comments or podcast ideas to [email protected]!

Listen to the full episode on your favorite podcast app! Search ‘Brooks Rehabilitation Podcast.’ You can also listen online. Below is a transcript of our newest episode.

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Podcast Transcript

Tracy Davis: Welcome to the Brooks Rehabilitation podcast. My name is Tracy Davis. Actually was not joined by Michelle in this episode. She was traveling to Iceland when we recorded this. This episode is being released in the month of February, which is Low Vision Awareness Month. So we had on Dr. Katelyn Jordan, she’s the optometrist at our low vision clinic, and Sarah LaRosa, who is an occupational therapist at our low vision clinic.

We really got into what low vision is. I’m sure that a lot of us listening are not fully aware of what low vision is and how it differs from your regular optometrists and ophthalmologists, and just making people more aware of what it is and that there is help out there for patients that have low vision, and also how the things that they do affect our patients within the Brook system. So they have an outpatient clinic, but also they get out and about into the rest of our system and help patients that have low vision issues.

Before we get into the rest of the episode, I wanted to remind you to please subscribe to the podcast. Our analytics show that most people are listening on Apple podcasts, and it’s very simple to subscribe there. So if you are not subscribed, please consider doing so, and also leave us a review. You can leave us … we’d love a five star review or whatever you decide to leave us, but please leave us a review on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to us on. Pretty much any podcast platform you’re listening on, you can also subscribe. So we would appreciate you doing those two things for us.

Also, visit us on social media. We are posting a ton of stuff there, videos, photos, patient stories, employee stories, cool things that are happening within our community through Brooks. You can find us at Brooks Rehab on pretty much any platform, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and also visit us at BrooksRehab.org, where we are posting new things all the time, new blog articles and things like that, and keeping you up to date as to what is happening at Brooks. Without further ado, let’s get into the rest of the episode.

Thank you guys for doing this. I know it’s maybe your lunchtime, so thank you. I know it’s tough for clinicians to take the time out to do stuff we want to do for marketing. So if you guys want to go ahead and introduce yourself and say what your role is at Brooks.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: My name is Katelyn Jordan. I’m the optometrist here at Brooks, and I help to lead our low vision program and then our vision rehab program inside the inpatient hospital in the skilled nursing facilities as well.

Sarah LaRosa: My name is Sarah LaRosa and I am an occupational therapist that specializes in neurologic and vision rehab within Brooks, and I also help to support our vision rehab services for our system of care.

Tracy Davis: Great. And can you just give us like a brief quick overview of what the low vision clinic is, what you guys do, and then we’ll kind of get a little bit deeper, but how would you describe the low vision program?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: So we work with patients who have vision loss, and vision loss can be from anything. It can be from an eye disease. Some of the most common ones are macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes. And we also work with patients who have vision loss from neurological changes like a stroke, or it could even be an eye injury, something like that, anything that causes vision loss. And typically they’re already seen by ophthalmology or their optometrist, and we’re kind of at the end of what medical treatment can do. There’s not really any way to improve their vision with glasses, contacts, or surgery or medication, and their vision is impacting their daily activities. So they’re having limitations in function and they’re having difficulty doing their daily activities. So they’re coming to us and we’re working with them to find special tools and strategies, magnifiers, technology, especially prescribed glasses to help them maximize the use of their vision and return to their daily activities to really allow for the most independence that we can do.

Tracy Davis: Do you have anything to add on?

Sarah LaRosa: We mostly joke around and say that she’s the brains and I’m the brawn. So Dr. Jordan will start with an initial examination and she will start to help define a person’s level of visual function. So their visual acuity, their visual fields, and she’ll start to paint a picture for supportive rehab professionals, in this case occupational therapy, to basically then step in and start with providing some interventions to help promote, improve participation and just daily living activities. Sometimes that’s vocation related. Sometimes it’s school related. Sometimes it’s just keeping our folks independently living in their homes and their residents so that they can just continue with day-to-day life based things that are important to them. So we joke around and say, she’s the brains and I’m the brawn, but really I’m a little bit of the brains too.

Tracy Davis: I would assume so. Yeah. One thing that helps me always remember what you guys do is you … just whenever I’m trying to think of what low vision is, is it’s helping people utilize the vision that they have left, and it’s not trying to cure anything, kind of like the rest of rehab. It’s helping them find ways of living their life with the vision that they currently have.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Exactly. One of the pictures that I like to paint for people that kind of helps when you’re talking to people who have experienced with the rest of healthcare, but everybody kind of goes, “Oh, what do we do with eyes?” But in the same way that if somebody hurt their knee, you’re not going to say, “Oh, man, that stinks. Well, here’s a wheelchair and enjoy life in a wheelchair.”

Tracy Davis: Good luck.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: “Good luck,” or, “Sorry, we don’t even know what a wheelchair is, stay in bed and we’ll see what happens.” It’s kind of the same way. If you lose function in your vision, lose part of your vision, there are tools, there are strategies, there are ways to go about living beyond just saying, “Oh man, I’m sorry, that’s gone. Good luck with that.” That’s what we’re here for is kind of, what can we use to improve that function and get them back to doing their daily activities? In the same way that you wouldn’t say, “Stay in your bed all the time,” to somebody who hurt their knee or their leg, we’re not going to say the same thing, “Just stay at home all the time.”

Tracy Davis: Right. Absolutely.

Sarah LaRosa: And so you can imagine the first step is helping a person to understand the vision they have that is remaining, that we can teach them to use and then find the appropriate tools. As she mentioned earlier, whether that’s optical magnification or technologies to help them function with the vision they have that’s remaining. In some cases, a person doesn’t have functioning vision remaining, so then we have to start to teach them to rely on other senses, like smell and taste and touch and hearing, if we have that intact too.

It gets tricky, because when we start talking about our older demographic, a lot of times those other senses have been impacted as well. So now we have a loss of hearing and a loss of vision, as well as some impairments with our other senses too. So neuropathy can play a part in that. So it can become a rather complex situation, and so all the more reason why it helps to have a team of people coming together to help this individual problem solve skills for engaging in the things that are important to them.

Tracy Davis: Right. So let’s go back and talk about the differences in vision, because I think most normal people are just used to going see their eye doctor every year. So explain the difference in optometrist, ophthalmologist, and then what you guys do here. What makes things different?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Sure. So, and you can kind of think of an optometrist more like your primary care eye doctor. They’re going to evaluate the health of your eyes. A lot of times they can help to diagnose and provide some of the basic treatments for certain types of eye disease. One of the big differences between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist is an ophthalmologist has gone to medical school and does a surgical residency. So they’re your eye surgeons who are going to perform things like cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, retinal surgeries, in addition to some of the primary care that an optometrist could also provide.

A lot of times they’ll work together. And usually with your general eye exams, the main goal is to check the health of your eyes, make sure they’re as healthy as we can keep them. Then maybe prescribe some glasses to correct any uncorrected refractive error, get your eyes and focus.

Then where the low vision exam comes in is where we already know that there’s a disease, something that’s reducing vision and they’ve had their prescription corrected and it’s not providing what they need to do their daily activities. They’re still having trouble seeing. And so a low vision exam, rather than focusing on the health of your eyes, it focuses more on the function of your eyes. And so we’re going to focus on what vision do you have and trying to describe that to both the patient, the family, and any other caregivers who are going to be involved in their care, and then how can we maximize the use of that vision?

So a lot of times, one of the things that everybody remembers about an eye exam is that fun test called, which is better, one or two? It’s like, “Ugh.” Makes me cringe. I hate that test. I never know if I’ve got the right answer, but one of the things that we do in a low vision exam is a different version of that test. It’s called a trial frame refraction, where you get a special trial frame that the frame actually moves with the person. So say they have a blind spot and they have to kind of always move their eyes and their head around it. That trial frame moves with them. So anytime that we’re checking their prescription, we don’t have to worry that it’s changing because they’re moving.

Then also, like I said, most people say, “I can’t tell the difference when you say, ‘Which is better, one or two?’ They all look the same.” If your vision is already reduced, that gets even harder. So these small differences, people, it all looks the same. We check their prescription and nothing has changed. If you do it in a trial frame, you can show bigger changes and eventually hone in on any little small changes that could still give us, if not huge changes in their vision, small improvements.

In about 10% of people, we can get a two line improvement by doing a refraction that way, rather than behind the … it’s called a Phoropter, the machine that you’re used to seeing at the eye doctor. Then in the rest of the 90% of people, it’s not to say we don’t get any improvement. A lot of times we can get smaller improvements. So that test is kind of, what’s the maximum best potential that we can get your vision to start with? Then we use that starting point with the glasses to then figure out, are there reading glasses that we can do? Are there special magnifiers that we can use? Can we use technology to help them see better? And kind of go from there.

Tracy Davis: Right. So, and you guys, before we get too deep into the rest of it, you guys accept patients, not just from outside of Brooks coming directly here, but you guys are also working a lot with patients that we already have in other parts of Brooks. So if there’s any other clinicians listening now that wants to know, they’re saying, “I have a patient that could definitely benefit from you guys,” or they should at least have an exam, how do they do that? How do they go about doing that?

Sarah LaRosa: So we have a number of procedures set up in place, and Dr. Jordan can help piggyback on this and answer this question along with me, but we do have, I believe it’s still active through e-Brooks. We have a referral procedure on our-

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: My Brooks.

Sarah LaRosa: My Brooks. Oh, shoot.

Tracy Davis: The names change, get with it.

Sarah LaRosa: Sorry, Tracy. That’s years of habit, it’s ingrained in my head. But on My Brooks, we have a procedure where we have a referral form and I believe that’s still through the-

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: It’s on the outpatient page. If you go to the system of care and then outpatient, and you scroll down a little bit on the right hand side, there’s a low vision referral form.

Tracy Davis: Okay. Then if there’s anyone from outside of Brooks listening, do they have to get referred to you from their physician or something like that, or?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Not usually. So most insurances you can just send a direct referral, because the referral is going to optometry so we don’t usually need an order from primary care. For some of the HMO insurances that do require pre-authorization, getting the referral from primary care is necessary. But usually if they … just regular insurance, Medicare, anything that’s not an HMO, you can just fax over a referral to the office and then we call the patient and get them in to get them scheduled.

Tracy Davis: Okay. That’s great. I wanted to get that in there before we got too late, later on in the podcast. So tell me, how did you guys get started in this path that you’re on? So let’s start with you. So, Sarah, so whenever most people think of an OT that don’t think of low vision, so what was the path for you and why did you … did you kind of fall into it? Or I would imagine you chose to land here, so how did that work out?

Sarah LaRosa: That is a very good question. So I think primarily I was working on our stroke rehab unit in the rehab hospital.

Tracy Davis: Oh, okay. I didn’t know that.

Sarah LaRosa: And worked there for several years, and I was noticing that about 70% or so of the people that I was coming in contact with had some kind of reported visual impairment, or we noticed that they had a visual impairment. Maybe they weren’t able to necessarily report it because of other communication barriers or cognitive barriers. So just in identifying that, I wanted to learn more. So I started to do some research about programs around the country, and really the only program at that time that was available for occupational therapists was the program through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And it’s their low vision rehabilitation, their certification program, and it’s a post-graduate program. So at that time I went back and decided, “I can do this. I can work full time here in the hospital and I can go to school.”

So I went back post-graduate through their program to learn more, as I started to learn more, I realized, “Wow, this is not even just about our neurologic demographic,” but this is so much bigger that the community as a whole was being underserved, and in reaching people with congenital vision loss and age-related vision loss as well, there just weren’t enough resources to really reach a large demographic of people in the community that had visual impairment. So started speaking with our administrative staff about some ideas as to how that could work. I actually wrote an email to Michael and Doug and said, “Hey, what do you guys think of this?

Simultaneously, and this was just the powers that be beyond me, they were approached by another clinic to acquire some of the materials from that clinic, along with a patient list that they had built-

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Well, it was a community low vision center that there was already an optometrist there. They had been providing low vision services just with an optometrist and then a low vision therapist. And basically they had kind of said, “There’s a community need for this, but it’s hard to support. We think it would work well within Brooks.” And it was just kind of odd timing that it was at the same time that you and some of the other people at Brooks were kind of noticing-

Sarah LaRosa: This and it just came together. It just fell together.

Tracy Davis: So whenever you said that you’d noticed that in the community that it is underserved, do you mean here specifically, or do you think that even across the United States, it’s still was a very underserved?

Sarah LaRosa: Definitely across the United States, it’s underserved. So there are … I don’t know what it is today. I’d have to pull it up on our AOTA specialty certifications list on our website, but I know in the state of Florida, the last I checked, there were maybe five of us or so that were specialized. And I was the first in the state of Florida to get the AOTA specialty credential. So you can imagine, I mean, looking state by state, there’s just a handful of people here and there that pop up that specialize in this area of rehab.

Tracy Davis: That’s great. Another thing that makes Brooks very unique. I kind of say it a lot on this podcast, is just all the different programs that we talk to and that we have is the full circle of, where else can you really go to get stuff like your normal inpatient, outpatient, home health and that kind of thing, but then stuff like concussion and then what you guys do, and then adaptive sports and all kinds of stuff? So it’s kind of amazing all the stuff that we offer. It just gets more revealed to me in my head as I talk to more people through this podcast. That’s great. So tell me about your journey.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah, so I actually became interested in optometry and got lucky enough to do an internship at Mayo clinic. And that was kind of my first exposure to low vision. And again, I started to realize that it was a very underserved area and it was an area that I really had an interest in. You get to spend more time connecting with your patients and kind of understand what their goals are and help them achieve those.

So even before I went to optometry school, I kind of had that idea. And in optometry school, I got to do a little bit of research in low vision. Then while I was in my residency, I was starting to look for a job. It was at that same time that Brooks was acquiring the low vision center, and I’m actually from Jacksonville so I knew about the reputation that Brooks had and was really excited when I saw that they were going to be having a low vision center, because like you said earlier, low vision really is just another form of rehabilitation. It’s just not always connected together. So I was really excited to see when they were going to kind of include that, because it means that we could take a much more holistic approach in addressing the needs of patients. So we ended up kind of connecting then after straight out of my residency.

Tracy Davis: Where are we going to school?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Where?

Tracy Davis: Yeah. Where did you go to school at?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Oh, my optometry school was at University of Houston, and then I did my residency at the VA in Charleston.

Tracy Davis: Okay. And then which Mayo clinic were you at when you did intern?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: At Jacksonville.

Tracy Davis: The one here.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tracy Davis: Yeah. I was just curious because there’s three now. Isn’t there three Mayos?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: I think there are. Yeah.

Tracy Davis: Yeah. This isn’t a Mayo podcast, but they do have their own podcast. Okay. So you guys, the low vision center, you guys have been here since 2014? Is that 2013?

Sarah LaRosa: 2013.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tracy Davis: That’s right. Okay. That’s right. It’s been quite some time, and you’ve both have been here the whole time.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yep. Well, actually Sarah started first.

Sarah LaRosa: Yeah, so our first person, our first client, April 1st, it was April fool’s day 2013. Then when did you start?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: I started in July. Yeah.

Sarah LaRosa: So shortly after.

Tracy Davis: And you guys were located in another place?

Sarah LaRosa: We were, we were out in Riverside initially, before we moved over here to the plaza.

Tracy Davis: I never made it over there whenever you guys were there, and then you’ve been here ever since?

Sarah LaRosa: Mm-hmm (affirmative). We have.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah.

Tracy Davis: Yeah. So in all this time, how have things changed maybe from any area, maybe how insurance handles things or from patient populations and your workload of how more people are getting to understand the importance of what you guys do?

Sarah LaRosa: We have grown exponentially since we started in 2013. I think the biggest thing that most people don’t recognize or know about, maybe because we maybe were not as good about advertising it as we should be, but Amanda Osborne spoke to this on the Facebook video that you put out a while back, that we’ve really expanded our vision rehab services to our system of care as a whole. So we do at times offer peer consultative services over in our acute care rehab setting.

In our inpatient rehab hospital setting we also provide a support, Dr. Jordan will see people, clients in that setting as well, and start some early intervention and early recommendations and partnering with therapy to start helping them better identify newly acquired vision loss, or even premorbid vision loss that could be impacting their rehab potential and their safety while they’re getting up and starting to move again.

Tracy Davis: Because these could be things like the patient maybe hasn’t even said that they’re having trouble with their vision.

Sarah LaRosa: Exactly.

Tracy Davis: So is it a lot of just educating our therapists, just to maybe some signs to look out for, for low vision issues and then they call you guys in?

Sarah LaRosa: Well, so initially yes, but actually we have found that it’s very beneficial to take it a step further and provide some didactic learning opportunities for our therapists. So we’ve actually created competencies for our occupational therapists and a minimal dataset now in our inpatient rehab hospital setting. So it’s actually the role of the occupational therapist now in that setting to do vision screens. And I start to identify some of these problems early on, and then collaborate and consult with optometry so that we can get optometry in on these cases at a much earlier timeline to help start to provide intervention and education, to promote things like fall prevention, just general safety.

Tracy Davis: And they’re really just to help them out even while they’re getting therapy, instead of it being something they do maybe after they’ve left inpatient, but it’s something they can be working on during. That’s great.

Sarah LaRosa: Correct. Absolutely. And then also in our skilled nursing and within aging services, we expanded the vision rehab program.

Tracy Davis: Is there any tips out there that people should, maybe if they have a loved one or something like that, something to look out for. I don’t know. I’m just trying to think of a way to help.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: I mean, I would say continuing to ask questions to providers who are providing care. I think one of the most frustrating things that we hear from loved ones and from patients is, why didn’t we hear about this sooner? Why didn’t somebody tell us about this? And the truth is, a lot of times, it’s not that their doctors didn’t want to tell them about it. It’s that maybe they had glaucoma and their pressure was sky high and they’ve been trying to get everything under control and save as much of their vision as they can, and it hasn’t come up in conversation that, “Gee, I can’t read my medication labels anymore,” or, “I can’t see to prepare my food anymore,” because they’re so worried about these other pieces.

So a lot of times it takes some advocacy on the part of the patient or maybe their caregivers to really help them identify these services that could be beneficial to them, because it’s not that we want to wait until somebody has lost a lot of vision. We want to get these services sooner rather than later. But unfortunately, sometimes you’ve just got to ask the right questions to get there.

Tracy Davis: Right. To finish off, what’s maybe a tip here. And I know I’ve talked to you before about different, like looking at computer screens and that kind of thing, but what’s a tip for the general population about protecting their eye health and obviously wearing sunglasses when you’re outside and that kind of thing? But what would you say?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah, I mean, there’s a few kind of simple things that I always tell people when they come in and they want to know, “What can I do to take better care of my eyes?” Sunglasses, UV protection, same way you want to protect your skin, you want to protect your eyes. Regular eye exams. Every one to two years is usually a good idea just to make sure there’s nothing, a lot of eye diseases or nothing that you would feel or see, they creep up on you slowly. So having that routine care can help to prevent vision loss early on. The food that you eat can also very much impact your eyes-

Tracy Davis: Is it true that carrots help your vision?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Everybody wants to know that. They actually don’t help as much as we thought that they did.

Tracy Davis: I didn’t think so.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah, really the better food for your eyes are like dark leafy green vegetables.

Tracy Davis: Right. Is it Vitamin K? Is that what it is?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: It’s not the Vitamin K. It’s actually an antioxidant. There’s some different antioxidants that help to support the macular pigment. They used to think that it was betacarotene. That’s in carrots.

Tracy Davis: That’s what I’m thinking of. Sorry.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: It’s a Carotenoid, which they’re all kind of in the same family, but betacarotene isn’t quite the same structure is what’s in your retina. They’ve found that there are different Carotenoids and you can find them more and things like dark leafy green vegetables, orange peppers, even oranges-

Tracy Davis: All the things I don’t eat, yeah.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Anything bright and colorful, but not icing.

Tracy Davis: Darn.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: That was my brother-in-law’s question. “So I can eat lots of icing then?” No. Bright and colorful-

Tracy Davis: Yeah. Bright and colorful, but not on Publix cakes. Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah.

Tracy Davis: Wow. Yeah. So spinach not only helps make you strong like Popeye, but also gives you good vision.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tracy Davis: That’s great. And then for since we’re all staring at screens all the time, I always think of the 20, 20, 20 rule. And I try and practice it when I can, I don’t always actually do it.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: So what is the 20, 20, 20 rule, Tracy?

Tracy Davis: So it’s every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Nicely done.

Sarah LaRosa: I feel like we’ve accomplished something.

Tracy Davis: I remember it. Yeah, because we did that healthy living tip video.

Sarah LaRosa: Yeah, we did.

Tracy Davis: I remember it from that. So yeah, that’s a good rule. Because for me editing videos and … not just that, I mean, I’m always on a computer.

Sarah LaRosa: It’s everything. Everybody’s always on a screen of some sort.

Tracy Davis: Yeah. And it’s just a lot of intense time staring at a screen and we don’t take the time to just go walk outside and just let our eyes kind of rest a little bit. So, what is it about the screens that is of not great for eyes? Is the constant focusing too close, or the brightness, or?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Well, I think there’s kind of a combination of things that we’re starting to figure out about screens that can kind of cause some different problems for us. A lot of times screens are sitting straight out in front of you, whereas used to, when you would read, you were looking down and your eyes were mostly closed. Now, if a screen is right in front of your eyes are wide open. The more you focus, the less you blink. So the average person blinks 18 to 22 times a minute, except when you’re reading and your blink rate goes down to four times a minute. So if you’re reading straight out in front of you and your eyes are wide open, your eyes are getting dried out and they’re going to get a lot more fatigue with a screen more so than you would with like a book that you’re reading in your lap. Then you also have the backlighting. So there’s some extra glare there as well. That can cause some eyestrain too.

Tracy Davis: Right. Is it true about not having a completely dark room, staring at a really bright screen? I try and have some sort of an ambient light going on somewhere, so it’s not completely pitch black with a giant screen.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah. I mean that can create probably some more stress on your eyes because your eyes have to adapt to the light and the dark. And so if you’re staring at a bright screen and then you look over into the dark, your eyes are going to take longer to adapt that way. And so it would make the reading situation more stressful on you. Holding things up close also for a longer period of time, it can put a lot more stress on your eyes. One of the things that a lot of research is going into now is why our population is becoming more near-sighted as a whole.

Tracy Davis: Yeah. I’ve noticed that. Like why is everyone having eye problems?

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: They’re calling it the myopia epidemic. Because I mean, it’s a thing and it’s happening more in developed countries where our kids and our societies, everything is happening at near. We’re working on computers, we’re working on machines, we’re not working outside and fields. So our eyes are kind of adapting to that, but that’s not necessarily a good thing, because the more nearsighted you are, the longer your eye is, and the more stretched out your retina becomes. So they’re trying to kind of find ways to offset that. And thoughts are, things like the 20, 20, 20 rule where you’re taking frequent breaks or just taking breaks as you get up can kind of help offset that near demand on your eyes.

Sarah LaRosa: And maybe switching up some activities to preoccupy your children with things other than a tablet.

Tracy Davis: I was going to ask that, that was going to be the next question is-

Sarah LaRosa: Yeah. That’s a big part of that.

Tracy Davis: I think of this generation that’s currently coming up. So iPad came out in 2010, and it really started hitting culture maybe 2012 ish, whenever you started really seeing iPads around. And now you go in a grocery store and there’s a kid in the grocery cart staring at an iPad or a phone or something. And I think about that generation when they get older, are they going to have completely different set of issues than we have now? Because people like me, I grew up in the 90s and the internet was becoming a thing. So now screens have obviously been a big part of my life, but for them, from being infants almost, it’s going to be interesting to see how that changes culture. And maybe it’ll be great for the eye industry, but not necessarily for people’s eyes.

Sarah LaRosa: So what we’re basically saying is, we want your child playing outside, but with their sunglasses.

Tracy Davis: Barefoot, sunglasses on.

Sarah LaRosa: Barefoot with the glasses, and leave the tablet alone. Put it down.

Tracy Davis: Yeah. Get outside and do things. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that’s all I have. Is there anything else you guys want to say? Let’s imagine we have 100 million people listening to this podcast, which we don’t, but if you did, what would you want to say to them about anything vision related?

Sarah LaRosa: So I think it’s really important to understand that we understand it’s not always feasible for every person that’s within our system of care, or every person who learns about our program to have the opportunity to be a part of our program. But that doesn’t mean that we’re still not here as a community resource. So I know sometimes we get questions from people who are geo expansion in the hospital or other places, and they say, “Oh, well I live too far away from the clinic. I can’t get resources or get help from you guys.” I would still encourage those people to call so we can at least maybe help to connect them to somebody in their area, to the right resource in their area, so that they’re not without services all together, just to continue to let people know that even if they cannot be a client of ours, we’re still here as a support to them. I think that’s important.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. I think vision loss in general can be very isolating. So it’s helpful for us to kind of be aware of it, the fact that it is prevalent in our society. There’s so many things that can cause vision loss, that as a caregiver or a clinician, that you’d be aware of the signs that might indicate that somebody has a vision change and then be aware of resources that are available to help get those patients plugged in and get them what they need so that they’re not isolated and they’re not living in an unsafe situation when things, simple things could be done to help them with that.

Tracy Davis: Okay. Well, great.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Absolutely.

Tracy Davis: Thank you. And this podcast should be out in February for Low Vision Awareness Month.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Oh, yay. Thanks.

Tracy Davis: So yeah, so that’ll be … happy Low Vision Awareness Month, everyone listening. But thank you guys for taking the time to do this. Appreciate it.

Dr. Katelyn Jordan: Yeah, thank you.

Sarah LaRosa: Thank you.


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Medical Reviewer

Katelyn W. Jordan, OD

Low Vision Optometrist
Dr. Jordan joins us from the Medical University of South Carolina, where she was a Clinical Instructor for Low Vision. She graduated with her OD, Magna cum Laude, from the University of Houston, College of Optometry. Dr. Jordan belongs to the American Academy of Optometry and the American Optometry Association, and has been honored with numerous awards and accolades. Dr. Jordan heads up the Brooks Center for Low Vision Therapy where she works with patients who have low vision and need visual services and devices beyond traditional corrective lenses. Dr. Jordan also consults on patients in the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital and at the Bartram campus, where she makes recommendations to help minimize the effects of visual changes on their rehabilitation process.
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