Low Vision Programs

Each year, POB impacts more than 13,000 community members through our evidence-based programs for children and adults with low vision. These programs include vision acuity and glaucoma screenings, eyeglasses distributions and fittings, educational events on vision health, low vision rehabilitation, resource assistance, support groups, and more.

Low Vision Rehabilitation

In POB’s low vision rehabilitation program, individuals with chronic vision loss receive customized care and guidance from our low vision optometrists. Working closely with these specialists, patients learn to adapt to their condition and develop compensatory strategies to maintain their independence, safety and quality of life.

What is low vision rehabilitation and why might I need it?

Low vision rehabilitation helps determine the best tools and techniques to meet your goals. This typically involves eye exams and the use of optical and non-optical visual aids or adaptations. It also includes education and counseling about resources such as state rehabilitation agencies, occupational therapy, support groups, etc.

Low vision rehabilitation does not replace any medical management of your eye condition. Most patients who undergo low vision rehabilitation typically continue to receive medical treatments for their eye conditions whenever possible.

How is low vision rehabilitation different from medical treatment?

Low vision rehabilitation is not a substitute for ongoing medical treatment; it is intended to help you adapt to your vision loss. It will not cure or control whatever eye condition or disease that caused your vision loss, so maintaining regular appointments with your normal provider is very important. Your low vision specialist and medical provider will be able to work as a team to help ensure both your eye health and vision function are the best they can be.

An examination with a low vision specialist is typically longer than an exam with your managing eye care provider. Examinations are scheduled to be at least one hour, and follow-up visits may be necessary. While Medicare and most medical insurances can be billed for the examination itself, not all aspects of the examination will be covered.

Is a referral required for low vision rehabilitation?

Referrals are recommended. Any healthcare provider can refer a patient for low vision rehabilitation. A patient can also ask their eye care provider if a referral is appropriate. Contact us at (703) 652-7803 for more information or to make an appointment for low vision rehabilitation.

Do you accept Medicare or other medical insurance?

While Medicare and most medical insurances can be billed for the examination itself, not all aspects of the examination will be covered. Contact us at (703) 652-7803 for more information.


415 2nd Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

4942 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

105 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

For more information or to make an appointment, contact:

(703) 652-7803

Services made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Julius Fleischman Foundation, Virginia Lions Eye Institute Foundation, and District 24-A Lions Club.

Low Vision Learning Center

POB offers free services to help people with low vision find the resources they need to maintain independence. Our Resource Specialists provide personal guidance as clients move through their vision journey. Some of these specialists have professional experience in vision and eye care; others may have personally faced vision challenges and wish to help others in similar situations.

You can connect with the Low Vision Learning Center over the phone or in person.

Contact our Information & Resource Hotline to speak directly with a Resource Specialist. He or she can help you make an appointment, direct you to local resources, tell you more about specific visual aid technologies, and answer any questions you may have about your vision journey. Call (301) 951-4444.

Visit the Low Vision Learning Center. Meet with our Resource Specialists in person to receive expert advice, learn about available resources, and try out different visual aid technologies.

4948 St. Elmo Avenue, Suite 209, Bethesda, MD 20814
Get directions

Monday – Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Do I need to make an appointment? Is a referral from my doctor needed?

You never need an appointment or referral to receive information from our Information and Resource Hotline (301-951-4444). Visits to the Low Vision Learning Center are available by appointment only, but do not require a referral from a doctor.

Can I purchase magnifiers and other devices here?

POB’s Low Vision Learning Center does not sell magnifiers or high-tech gadgets. We do have many of the gadgets and magnifiers here for you to try and learn about. We can connect you with vendors who sell these devices, but encourage you to work with a doctor specializing in low vision (such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist) before making these purchases. This can save you thousands of dollars over time by ensuring you get the technology that will be most effective for you, for the lowest cost.

What about low-tech options like large print, writing guides, and talking products?

The Low Vision Learning Center can help you purchase these low-tech options. You can either buy through us (with a small service charge), or we can direct you to vendor websites where you can purchase these items yourself. These items are available in our Center for you to try first and see how they work for you.

Can I schedule an eye exam or low vision exam at the Low Vision Learning Center?

The Low Vision Learning Center does not provide eye exams. Low vision exams are offered through the Low Vision Rehabilitation program.

For more information, contact:
Low Vision Learning Center
(301) 951-4444

Low Vision Resource & Support Group Network

For more than 30 years, POB has hosted a network of resource and support groups in Greater Washington. These groups provide emotional support, share assistive resources, and promote low vision awareness — helping thousands with vision impairment combat isolation and live productive lives.

The Network can connect you with others who understand your vision journey and can share insights on coping with vision loss. Group events can take the form of traditional support group sessions, technology demos, informational talks from doctors, and other educational events.

Where can I find a support group?

POB currently helps run 11 groups in the Greater Washington region. In addition, we maintain a list of other area support groups that may be closer to you. Call our Low Vision Learning Center at (301) 951-4444 to find a group or event for you.

We also publish Your Eyes Today, a monthly large-print newsletter designed for readers with low vision. It covers topics that are commonly discussed in low vision support groups, such as vision health and other helpful insights for persons with vision loss. It also publishes information on upcoming support group events.

Read our most current issue of Your Eyes Today or browse our archive of past issues.

For more information, contact:

Low Vision Learning Center
(301) 951-4444


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