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​​​​Vision loss rehabilitation therapy helps people with all types of vision loss to develop or restore key daily living skills, helping enhance their independence, safety and mobility. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and other health care professionals may refer you for this therapy as a part of your overall care plan. 

Vision loss rehabilitation therapy is provided by certified specialists, who will work with you to create a personalized rehabilitation plan to meet your needs and goals. 

Your plan may include one or more of the followin​g services:

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program

All people with Diabetes who are over 12 years old should receive regular eye screenings. Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Canada and is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults younger than 75. Research has shown that early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care can reduce the risk of vision loss by 95 per cent.

VLRC has developed a Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program in partnership with community organizations to provide screenings for Diabetic Retinopathy. It allows health care providers increased mobility to reach individuals in more remote locations. Digital photographs are taken of both retinas using a portable hand-held fundus camera. The images are uploaded into an automated Diabetic Retinopathy screening software, approved by Health Canada and a report is provided at point of care. Retinal imaging can occur as part of routine diabetic or health care appointments.

A referral is then made to Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada who will coordinate the required follow-up care with the client’s GP and/or appropriate eye care professional.

The Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program aims to reduce the risk of vision loss by the early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Currently these services are being offered in Ontario only. Click here for Diabetic Retinopathy Community Referral Form.

If you are outside of Ontario, please contact Josie McGee (

Low vision services

If you have low vision, learning to use the sight you have left can be life-changing. Our certified specialists can:

  • Provide a functional vision assessment designed for people with low vision
  • Explain eye diseases and how they affect vision in an easy-to-understand way
  • Teach techniques for maximizing eyesight, like how to use lighting and contrast  
  • Give one-on-one instruction on helpful sight-enhancing devices, like specialty magnifiers. 
  • Partnering with the optometry community for over 30 years and building on the expertise of our work with CNIB, our specialists can provide low vision assessments and provide you with different aids and devices.​

Essential skills for daily living

Our certified specialists can help you build the skills you need to live safely and independently with vision loss. This may include helping you: 

  • Learn safe methods of pouring a cup of coffee, preparing a meal and using household appliances
  • Discover simple techniques for labelling medications, identifying money, using the phone and organizing household items
  • Learn how to use large-print, braille and audio products, and adaptive technology as a part of day-to-day life
  • Find community programs, financial subsidies and other helpful resources available in your local area.   ​

Travel and mobility instruction

Learning to travel independently with vision loss is an essential skill. Our certified specialists can help you learn how to:

  • Use the guiding techniques: comfortable way to walk with a sighted person, the ability to use remaining vision and other senses to travel.
  • Use a white cane and other mobility tools.
  • Find and cross intersections. 
  • Ride public transit with confidence to reach community resources like the grocery store, bank or shopping mall. 
  • Navigate new environments like a workplace or school campus.

Adjustment to Vision Loss Counselling

Counselling is critical to people coming to terms with their vision loss. Understanding and dealing with their emotions and accepting support and training will allow them to live independent, active lives.

Services may include:

  • Structured one-on-one adjustment to vision loss counselling sessions facilitated by a trained professional. These sessions are designed to help individuals adjust to the social and emotional impact of vision loss.
  • Connecting clients to community programs, financial supports and other helpful resources available in their local area.

Assistive Technology Services

Assistive Technology maximizes quality of life, post secondary education and employment opportunities through the latest adaptive and mainstream technology

  • Receive an assessment and get recommendations from our experts on assistive technologies that meet specific needs
  • Receive one-on-one sessions to learn how to use assistive technologies

Career & Employment Services

Career & Employment Services offers a range of programs to help you gain the skills needed to find and maintain employment:

  • Career Counselling
  • Job Retention
  • Student Transition Services
  • Funding Options—information on the availability of educational funding and wage subsidies for disability services and supports
  • Job Search
  • Employment Skills Workshops

Services for children and families: Early intervention

​Vision Loss Rehabilitation Manitoba has occupational therapists that specialize in providing support to blind and partially sighted children and their families during the formative years from birth to age six.

Occupational therapists provide service directly in the child’s home, daycare or specially designed children’s rooms at Vision Loss Rehabilitation Manitoba. They use a multi-sensory approach to build confidence and teach specific skills to maximize each child’s learning style.

The Early Intervention Program opens the door to opportunity. Children develop self-help, motor, play, cognitive, sensory, and literacy skills and are encouraged to interact with peers.​​

Occupational therapists work closely with other​ partners and are involved in the transition from home, day-care or preschool into the school system and the work of special educators.