Youth Low Vision Program

The Youth Low Vision Program provides special optometric evaluations, glasses, and other low vision devices (limited to those worn on the head) for children ages 0-26 with a visual acuity of 20/70 in the better eye or with a restricted field of 20 degrees or less.

Referrals are made to the (Michigan) Bureau of Services for Blind Persons by the Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired at your intermediate school district (ISD). The Bureau authorizes low-vision examinations throughout the state given by licensed optometrists and ophthalmologists who provide low-vision services. (Authorization must be before the exam.) The Bureau uses the results of the examinations to authorize purchases of telescopic and microscopic glasses, complex contact lenses, light-filtering eyewear, prescription sports goggles, bifocals, and prismatic lenses.

This program typically provides more than 250 specialized evaluations and 350 low-vision aids each year, helping students participate in classroom and other activities with their peers.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q:  How old does my child have to be before receiving services from the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  Youth Low Vision Services are available from birth to 26 years, as long as the child is enrolled in the local school district. 

Q:  What is provided through the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  The program assists students with low-vision exams when not covered by insurance. The program also assists with the purchase of low-vision devices worn on the head, such as telescopic and microscopic glasses, complex contact lenses, light-filtering eyewear, prescription sports goggles, bifocals, and prismatic lenses not covered by insurance that will enhance the student's ability to read textbooks, see the board in the classroom, and generally improve the child's ability to participate in home, school and recreational activities. 

Q:  How do I enroll my student in the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  Referrals for services are initiated by your ISD (intermediate school district) Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired. Parents are required to sign an application for services and provide documentation of visual impairment. 

Q:  Where do I take my child for the exam needed for the Youth Low Vision Program documentation? 

A:   Any licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist who provides low-vision services can do the exam. 

Q:  How much of the costs are paid for by the Youth Low Vision Program? 

A:  Reasonable costs will be paid by the Youth Low Vision Program on head-borne devices as recommended by the optometrist or ophthalmologist. Limits may be imposed on the number of items and cost of items. It is expected that your vision insurance, if available, will be used to cover costs before Youth Low Vision Program funds are used. Assistance is limited to Youth Low Vision Program available funds. 

Q: How often can we take advantage of this program? 

A:  Youth Low Vision services are available every other school year, as long as needed, up to age 26 (age at the start of the school year). 

For more information: 

Contact your intermediate school district (ISD) Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired. You may also contact a Bureau of Services for Blind Persons office near you for assistance in contacting your ISD Teacher Consultant for the Visually Impaired.