Welcome to the Center
of Low Vision Services at Dakota Eye Care
Associates! Our mission is to promote
independent living for people of all ages with
impaired sight. Dr. Zastrow and the staff at the
Center are trained in the latest techniques and
will use the most up to date technology in order
to help you return to activities of life that
you have missed since your vision loss.
Your initial low vision evaluation will take
approximately one hour. It is important to know
that low vision rehabilitation is a continuous
process and what works for you today may not
work for you in six months. Most importantly,
remember that low vision rehab will not restore
your sight but will help you to understand your
eye condition and use your remaining sight to
its fullest potential. We will strive to provide
each and every patient with the most practical
and cost effective solutions to their daily
What is low vision:
Low vision is the condition of having reduced
vision that is not correctable by normal means
such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Low vision
makes everyday tasks difficult. A person with
low vision may find it difficult or impossible
to accomplish activities such as reading,
writing, shopping, watching television, driving
a car or recognizing faces. Common causes of low
vision are macular degeneration, glaucoma,
diabetes and other eye diseases.
When vision cannot be improved with regular
eyeglasses, medicine or surgery, people with low
vision need help to learn how to make the most
of their remaining sight and keep their
independence. Losing vision does not mean giving
up your activities, but it does mean finding new
ways of doing them.
What is legal blindness:
To be legally blind a person must have lost
vision to the level of 20/200 or worse with
their best eyeglasses or contact lenses or they
must have a visual field (peripheral vision)
loss to 20 degrees or less. Legal blindness
often causes a severe restriction of daily
activities such as reading the newspaper,
watching television or preparing a meal. People
with vision impairments who are not legally
blind may still suffer from these same
What is low vision rehabilitation:
Many people with low vision complain of loss of
independence and self-worth. Low vision does not
have to mean no vision. Low Vision
rehabilitation is the process of training the
person with a visual impairment to make use of
their remaining vision to perform those tasks,
which are often thought to be lost forever.
Often the people who can benefit the most from a
Low Vision evaluation and training are those
with moderate vision loss, or visual acuity
between 20/60 - 20/100.
Billing and insurance:
MEDICARE: We are participating providers for
Medicare. Medicare will help with the
examination fees and rehabilitation services;
however, Medicare does not cover the cost of Low
OTHER Insurance: Some insurance companies cover
Low Vision aids and Low Vision rehabilitation.
However, this coverage varies greatly with each
insurance company. Most policies will not cover
Low Vision devices but will cover the evaluation
and follow-up visits that are needed. Please
check with your insurance company regarding
coverage prior to your visit.
Credit cards: We accept MasterCard, Visa,
Discover and Care Credit cards.
Return policies on low vision aids:
Our goal is to assure that patients can try most
Low Vision aids with little or no financial
risk. Return policies vary on items purchased
through our Center and any questions or concerns
can be discussed at the exam.
The day of your examination:
Please bring all of your eyewear, sunglasses,
reading glasses, magnifiers and other Low Vision
devices to your examination. Also bring any
samples of reading material, newspapers, bills,
music or other work or hobby materials you would
like help in seeing. Please bring a list of your
current medications and your insurance
information as well.
Plan to arrive 15-20 minutes early. It is
advised that you bring a family member or friend
along to help with the necessary paperwork prior
to the examination and in case dilation is
performed, in order to have a driver.
What to expect:
As a low vision patient, you are often referred
from your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an
evaluation by a Low Vision specialist. Although,
you do not need a referral from your doctor to
be assessed for Low Vision aids at our clinic.
The Low Vision doctor determines which devices
are needed to make the most of your remaining
vision. The examination that is done by the Low
Vision specialist does not duplicate what has
already been done prior by your doctor.
What are low vision aids:
The use of specialized devices such as
magnifiers, telescopes, or stronger reading
glasses allow many patients to return to daily
activities like reading their mail or the
newspaper and watching their favorite TV shows.
There are even video magnifiers that attach to a
TV screen to give large amounts of magnification
for tasks like school work or signing checks.
Other products are available also that can aid
in daily activities such as talking watches,
cooking gadgets and other environmental aids.
Most insurances do not cover the cost of
If needed, we will help connect you with the
necessary programs that serve people with low
vision including State Services for the Blind,
occupational therapists, support groups and
Vision Loss Resources.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mary Ann
Zastrow, the Center’s Low Vision doctor, contact
our office at (651) 457-2020 and ask to be
scheduled for a Low Vision Evaluation. A
referral is not required.
Thursday Appointments Available
You may contact our practice with any questions
You may contact Dr. Mary Ann Zastrow at:
Center For Low Vision Services
at Dakota Eye Care Associates
1540 Humboldt Ave. Suite 201
West St. Paul, MN 55118