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Allegheny Valley Hospital clinic brings details into focus

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By R. A. Monti
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011

Allegheny Valley Hospital is hoping to help some folks see things a little clearer.

The Harrison Township hospital is opening a Low Vision Rehabilitation Clinic at its outpatient office in the Heights Plaza.

The first hospital-based clinic of its kind in Pittsburgh, its goal is to allow people with sight problems to regain some of the freedoms they lost when they started having problems with their eyes, according to occupational therapist Kristy Ondriezek, the head of the program.

"We want to promote health, safety and independence in everyday activities," she said.

Ondriezek said the program is geared toward older adults who have impaired vision caused by macular degeneration, glaucoma, stroke or head injuries, for example.

On average, participants will complete five sessions that will help them regain the ability to do everyday things.

"The biggest things people come to the program for are reading and writing," Ondriezek said. "The program is personalized so that people can do what they want to do."

The program also offers in-home evaluations, in which patients and their surroundings are assessed to determine whether changes to their environment would be beneficial to their sight.

"Sometimes people just need to adjust the lighting in a room," Ondriezek said. "We can go in and see what changes someone needs in their environment."

She said the program also can help people acquire tools such as an automatic needle threader and high-powered magnifying glasses.

Right now the clinic operates only on Fridays, but Ondriezek said it eventually will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays also.

About the clinic

Patients wishing to participate in the clinic must get their vision checked by a specialist and receive a referral before making an appointment. For more information, call 724-224-2166.

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