Various Eye Diseases, and Some of Their Functional Implications--Along with Suggested Non-Optical Recommendations

Presenter: Bryan Gerritsen


In this presentation, functional implications of various eye diseases will be discussed.  Special consideration will be given to the two leading causes of vision loss for adults—age related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, along with two major causes of vision loss for children—optic nerve hypoplasia and cortical vision impairment.  Other eye diseases and conditions will also be examined, including glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, stroke, other maculopathies (e.g. Stargardt’s disease, etc.), retinopathy of prematurity, congenital cataracts, optic atrophy, and others.  Rather than focusing on the pathology and treatment of these eye diseases, however, emphasis will be given to a review of functional implications, along with accompanying suggestions for adaptations.  Although most persons with the eye diseases mentioned in this presentation may of course benefit from optical or electronic low vision devices (magnifiers, reading glasses, loupes, telescopic aids, CCTV’s or digital devices), the thrust of this presentment is to discuss implications of their eye condition, and to suggest recommendations for these persons that are non-optical, such as for improved illumination, contrast enhancement, glare reduction, and eccentric viewing.  It is hoped that attendees will come away with a better understanding of various eye diseases, their functional implications, and obtain some recommendations for non-optical adaptations



About the Present


Bryan is a certified Low Vision Therapist, and works with eleven eye care centers and doctor’s offices throughout Utah, and helps provide low vision rehabilitation services for patients with a vision loss.  He is an instructor for the University of Utah for a class on low vision for teachers of the visually impaired.  He is also a certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist, and works part-time for the Jordan School District in Salt Lake City teaching Orientation and Mobility to blind and visually impaired students.Prior to working privately at doctor’s offices, he worked for the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Utah doing low vision services for elderly persons at that state agency. He also worked at the Utah School for the Blind and at the Atlanta Area Services for the Blind as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Orientation & Mobility for the Blind from Western Michigan University in 1975, and with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education for the Blind from Brigham Young University in1974.He has been the Chair of the Low Vision Rehabilitation Division (#7) of AER, and served in Division 7 of AER for many years.  He has spoken at many conferences and seminars on low vision, and has authored several articles for professional journals on various aspects of low vision.  He has founded a private foundation to assist persons who cannot afford vision rehabilitation services or low vision devices.  He has worked in the field of low vision and blindness for over 36 years. Bryan and his wife Becky have seven children and sixteen grandchildren.