Specialty Certification in LOW VISION

Occupational therapy practitioners applying for SCLV certification must practice in low vision rehabilitation. The National Eye Institute defines low vision as a condition that limits the person’s ability to complete everyday activities and cannot be corrected by lenses, medical intervention, or surgery. While this definition includes blindness, most persons with low vision have some useable vision and are able to complete daily activities with the help of magnifiers and assistive technology. 

Low vision is characterized by impairments in acuity and/or visual field and include: 

  • Age-related eye diseases including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are the leading causes of low vision in the United States. 
  • Impairments in acuity and visual field caused by brain injuries are also considered to be low vision conditions when they result in long-term conditions. These visual impairments include hemianopsia and other visual field deficits, nystagmus, visual vestibular disorders that reduce gaze stability, optic nerve damage, focusing impairments from cranial nerve injuries, brainstem injury or damage to eye structures, and light sensitivity and reduced dark-light adaptation. 

Low vision does not include:

  • Cognitive disorders that result from brain injury–including neglect and other attention disorders–and dyslexia and other reading disorders are not included in the definition of low vision. 
  • Perceptual and reading disorders that are treated through the use of vision therapy. 

Practitioners applying for Specialty Certification in Low Vision should:

  • Have experience in working with adults, ages 18 years or older, who have deficiencies in acuity and visual field as a result of eye disease/conditions or brain injury.
  • Have experience and expertise in the use of optical devices and assistive technology to enhance vision.
  • Have experience collaborating with optometrists, ophthalmologists and other vision rehabilitation professionals.
  • Demonstrate breadth in their experience so that it is not limited to working only with clients with a single condition (e.g., visual-vestibular dysfunction or focusing deficiencies).


Download an overview.The completed application will consist of 2 parts: the .pdf application (Part 1), and the portfolio evidence forms (Part 2).  Examples are also provided to help applicants better understand how to complete the various portfolio evidence forms.

SCLV—Occupational therapist (OT)

Important Notice for the Graduates of the University of Alabama, Birmingham’s Graduate Certificate in Low Vision: Graduates of this program are eligible to apply for Specialty Certification in Low Vision by using a shortened application process!


Occupational therapy assistant (OTA)


Occupational Therapist (OT)

Download the overview. Parts 1 and 2 will make up the OT application. Please follow the instructions in Part 1 for submitting your completed application.  

Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)

Download the overview. Parts 1 and 2 will make up the OTA application. Please follow the instructions in Part 1 for submitting your completed application.