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A Journal on Ophthalmology
PROCEEDING OF THE III CONGRESS OF THE ITALIAN STUDY GROUP ON LOW VISION (GISI) (Rome, December 7, 1995)
Minerva Oftalmologica 1999 June;41(2):69-72
Assessment and rehabilitation of residual vision, as practised at the Fondazione Robert Hollman - Early intervention centre for visually impaired children, Cannero Riviera (VB)
After many years of work it is now an internationally accepted fact that most children with severe visual impairment, legally registered as blind, actually have, at least initially, some degree of residual vision. The child with serious visual difficulties cannot spontaneously use information as can a ''normally sighted'' person, but requires particularly favourable conditions to enable him to use what residual vision he has, exploiting it to the full. If this residual vision is not used, it gradually tends to diminish and atrophy. This paper describes the method of functional assessment and visual rehabilitation of young children (0-4 years) practised at the Fondazione Robert Hollman of Cannero Riviera (VB). Acknowledgement is made in the paper of the pioneering work in visual rehabilitation by Dr. N. Barraga (USA), who highlighted the great importance and influence in visual rehabilitation of ''special'' conditions for the visually impaired child. These ''special'' conditions (sharp contrasts, strong colours, appropriate lighting) allow the visually impaired child to optimise his visual perception and appreciation of his surroundings, and, as he gradually becomes aware of the residual vision he possesses, he can learn to exploit it fully, to the enormous benefit of all the areas of his development.