Support Groups

Adjusting to Vision Loss Counseling

Losing one’s sight can initially feel devastating and overwhelming. People experiencing vision loss often fear they will lose their independence, and they may feel anxiety, depression, anger, grief, and isolation. Many times people struggle with the impact of their vision loss on their marriage, family, or other personal relationships, as well as on socialization, recreation, work, or education.

Our Adjustment Counselors can help you understand and work through the process of grief associated with vision loss and develop strategies for coping with the physiological and emotional challenges. The Adjustment Counselor will work with you to build your own personal toolbox for adjusting to the new ways to accomplish your daily living goals.

First steps toward coping and living well with vision loss

When someone is first faced with vision loss, it can seem like an insurmountable blow, the person can feel hopeless, as if life could never get back to being as good as when they had sight. It may be hard for the person to imagine at first, but piece by piece, they can begin to adjust, to re-build their ability to do things in a new way, to gain confidence for independence and more.

Adjustment counseling helps people learn to manage these feelings and break the seemingly insurmountable into small, steps according to their individual goals. Once people find they can accomplish one small task at a time, they begin piecing their successes together into a skill-set for living life to the fullest in a new, happier way.

If you are having difficulty coping with vision loss, we invite you to sign up for MABVI’s counseling service to help you move forward on your journey of living well with vision loss. This service may be provided by one of MABVI’s licensed social workers or an affiliated provider. This service is not available in all areas of the state. If it is not available in your area, however, MABVI may be able to assist you with locating appropriate community resources.

AFFILIATED PROVIDERS

The Counseling and Assessment Clinic of Worcester, LLC (CAC) was founded in May of 2007 by Dr. Jennifer J. Hylton. CAC is a four-site, licensed clinic with offices in Worcester and Fitchburg and provides culturally competent assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults. CAC is accredited by the Joint Commission, which certifies only those health agencies that meet the highest standards of care.

CAC’s mission is to provide exceptional behavioral health and substance abuse services to residents of central Massachusetts. The clinicians at CAC have experience working in various clinics and hospitals in Massachusetts in different roles and capacities. We aim to provide culturally competent services to all of our clients, who are in need of and present for treatment.

CAC aims is to increase access to behavioral health care and substance abuse care for all people, including ethnic minority groups, the elderly, and the disabled who have traditionally been marginalized or have received services that were lacking culturally.

CAC uses a team approach that includes a variety of professionals including family therapists, social workers, individual therapists and case managers. Appointments may be made at the Worcester or Fitchburg offices, or at home.

IlanaRei Goss, MSW, LICSW is a graduate of the Smith College School of Social Work who has been working in the field for over 15 years. She provides psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, including couples. Her main clinical focuses are working with people who identify with a gender or sexual minority (LGBTQIA), as well as people with disabilities, especially visual impairment.

As someone who has experienced vision loss herself, she believes that her empathy and understanding make her uniquely qualified to provide therapy for others experiencing vision loss and their loved ones. Her office is located in Jamaica Plain, two blocks from the Orange Line, and her building is handicapped accessible. She takes Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tufts, Beacon Health Strategies and Medicare.

Selma Mirsky, MSW, LICSW holds degrees from Boston University and UMass Amherst and has worked with many clients coping with vision loss over the years, including people blind since birth, adults who have been blind for a number of years, and elders first losing vision as a result of age-related eye diseases.

Selma performs individual, couples, and group therapy and prefers to work with people in their homes. While her office is in Newton, she provides in-home counseling to surrounding Metrowest areas.

She accepts the following insurances: Medicare, MassHealth, BCBS, Tufts, Aetna, AARP, Optum.

Marcia Smith-Hutton MSW, LICSW, BCD has over 25 years of experience helping people with depression, anxiety, grief, panic disorders and vision loss. Blind from birth and having grown up in France she is bicultural and bilingual. Before becoming a therapist, she studied music, graduating from a Paris conservatory and moving to Boston for a master's in piano. Before starting her private therapy practice, she worked in several hospitals and mental health centers.

Marcia is able to see consumers in Brookline and is conveniently located on the Green “C” Line. She is also able to provide appointments to people over the telephone if they are unable to access her locality. She takes Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Medicare, Tufts and United. To enquire call 508-854-0700.

To enquire about this service, call 508-854-0700, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or complete our Service Referral Form.

Orientation & Mobility

What is Orientation and Mobility?

Orientation and Mobility is specialized training provided by Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) to individuals who are blind or visually impaired on specific strategies and skills for safe, efficient, and effective travel in both indoor and outdoor environments. Some of the skills that are taught include:

  • Searching skills: locating items or places efficiently
  • Sighted guide: using another person to aid in travel
  • Protective techniques: specific skills which provide added protection in unfamiliar areas
  • Use of public transportation
  • Long cane skills: use of various cane techniques to clear one's path or to locate objects along the way

Who is eligible?

  • Adults in the metro Boston area who are served by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Adults who are blind or visually impaired who qualify for the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) waiver or the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Waiver.
  • Adults with low vision in the Greater Boston and Metro West areas (please enquire for a list of towns, as service areas vary from time to time).

What do Orientation and Mobility Services include?

  • Direct services
    • A variety of assessments (travel, low vision, environmental) are provided to establish a recommendation for additional Orientation and Mobility services and training.
    • Person-specific Orientation and Mobility lessons that teach the specific skills and strategies necessary for safe, efficient, and effective travel.
  • Consultative services
    • Trainings for the support network in understanding the needs of the individuals with vision loss. Training and consultation are provided for both person-specific and general issues.
  • Education and Advocacy
    • How to access community resources and vision-related assistive technology
    • Eye care information
    • Will attend eye exams
    • Will attend Individual Service Plan meetings

    Where are Orientation and Mobility services provided?

    • Home
    • Work
    • Day program
    • Vocational program
    • Community
    • Public transportation

    How do I request Orientation and Mobility services?

    • Individuals served by DDS must be referred for services by their service coordinator.
    • Individuals participating in the ABI or MFP waivers must make enquiries with their case manager or service coordinator.
    • Adults with low vision may contact our office on 888-613-2777, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or complete our service referral form to enquire about rates.

    Affiliated Providers

    Doctors affiliated with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI):

    Dr. Jennifer Salvo runs a MABVI-affiliated low vision practice, Metro West Low Vision Center, with locations in Wellesley and South Yarmouth. She sees patients two Thursdays a month in Wellesley and two Fridays a month in South Yarmouth. To schedule an appointment, call 508-740-0706. For more information, visit www.metrolowvision.com. MetroLowVision.com for more information.

    Dr. Lyudmila Sutherland sees patients at Eye Center of the North Shore in Salem, MA. For an appointment call 978-744-1177 or visit Eyecenternorthshore.com for more information.

    Dr. Jane Orenstein sees patients in her office at 999 Providence Rd., Whitinsville, MA 01588. Thursday mornings are totally devoted to low vision patients. Other times are also available. Appointments may be made by calling the office at 508-234-6681 and indicating it is for a low vision evaluation. For more information, visit OptometristsWhitinsville.com.

    Rev Arthur T. MacKay O.D., a licensed optometrist, provides consultation to help those who cannot easily define realistic goals of low vision care. This can include understanding the exam, helping with initiating, or repeating any parts of an evaluation that an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or occupational therapist would like reviewed. He currently serves patients in the Wellesley, Newton and Natick areas. For more information call our office at 508-854-0700.

    Vision Rehabilitation

    Vision Rehabilitation is the training and adaptive techniques that help individuals learn to live with reduced vision. Our vision rehabilitation specialists provide the tools and strategies to maximize the use of remaining sight and teach people with vision loss how to use their remaining vision most effectively. Vision rehabilitation can help people to continue to live with independence and dignity, and to continue to do what they love. Find out how vision rehabilitation can change your life.

    Low Vision Evaluations

    The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) operates or is partnered with several low vision centers in Massachusetts. At our low vision centers, optometrists provide low vision exams in a clinical setting with adaptive techniques and training taught by an occupational therapist. The low vision exam provides important information about how a person functions in everyday life, and patients learn to maximize their usable vision, often with prescribed optical devices.

    Clients are responsible for any co-pays, deductibles, refraction fees and costs of any devices. Read our helpful document What to Expect at a Low Vision Center (PDF).

    There are many benefits to visiting a low vision center. First, the low vision exam is highly specialized and eye charts and tools are specifically developed to determine if the client can benefit from optical devices. MABVI also offers an array of other services to help those with low vision. Most importantly, the assessment does not have to end in the clinic, but can be taken into the home to help with activities of daily living. One of our occupational therapists trained in vision rehabilitation can ensure that individuals who have purchased adaptive equipment have the training to use it properly and that their home environment enhances their level of usable vision.

    MABVI Vision centers:

    Pittsfield: Dr. Charles Mandel sees patients once a month at:
    Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc.
    877 South Street, Suite 4E
    Pittsfield, MA 01201

    To schedule an appointment at a MABVI low vision center call (toll free) 888-613-2777 or send an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

    Affiliated Doctors/Clinics:

    Belmont: Dr. Amanda Belleville, OD sees patients for low vision evaluations at Bennett Family Eye Care. She customizes a plan, depending on each patients' visual needs, including different low vision devices, contacts, and glasses. She treats patients with impaired vision ranging from mild to severe. For an appointment please call 617-484-1414 and request a low vision exam. Visit our website at http://www.belmontoptometrists.com for more information.

    Metro Boston, Southeast and South Coast: Dr. Rodney Immerman has been exclusively practicing low vision since 1982. He sees patients for low vision evaluations in 10 offices throughout eastern, southeastern and South Coast Massachusetts. Locations include Woburn, Wakefield, Winchester, Quincy, Norwood, Brockton, Pembroke, Taunton, North Dartmouth and Fall River. He can be reached directly at 508-991-8200 to arrange an appointment or by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more information, visit www.MetroBostonLowvision.com

    Middleboro: Dr. Alexis Malkin, OD sees patients at Boston University Eye Associates, Inc., Southeast Health Center, 511 West Grove Street, Middleboro on Mondays. Appointments may be made by calling the office at 508-947-8868 and indicating it is for a low vision evaluation. For more information, visit http://buea.net/locations/buea-middleboro/.

    Salem, MA: Dr. Lyudmila Sutherland sees patients at Eye Center of the North Shore. For an appointment call 978-744-1177 or visit Eyecenternorthshore.com for more information.

    Whitinsville: Dr. Jane Orenstein sees patients in her office at 999 Providence Road. Thursday mornings are completely devoted to low vision patients. Other times are also available. Appointments may be made by calling the office at 508-234-6681 and indicating it is for a low vision evaluation. For more information, visit OptometristsWhitinsville.com.

    Worcester: MCPHS University School of Optometry offers low vision exams at the Eye and Vision Center located at 10 Lincoln Square. Exams may be conducted by Dr. Toomey-Gitto, Dr. Deliso, Dr. Waldorf or Dr. Frank. Low vision specialties include pediatrics and special populations. For an appointment call 508-373-5830 and ask for a low vision exam. Please visit the MCPHS website for more details.

    Boston, Lynn, Brookline, Lawrence, Watertown, and East Bridgewater:
    New England Eye provides vision rehabilitation services to individuals with visual impairment, individuals with legal blindness, and individuals with intellectual disabilities at their various locations in Massachusetts.

    New England Eye Commonwealth
    930 Commonwealth Ave.
    Boston, MA 02215
    617-262-2020

    Lynn Community Health Center
    20 Central Ave, 1st Floor,
    Lynn, MA 01901,
    781-595-1350

    Boston Eye Group
    1101 Beacon Street, Suite 6,
    Brookline, MA 02446,
    617-566-0062

    Boston Eye Group
    25 Marston Street, Suite 104,
    Lawrence, MA 01841
    (978) 685-5366

    New England Eye Low Vision Clinic @ Perkins
    175 North Beacon St
    Watertown, MA 02472
    617-972-7296

    New England Eye Southeastern Massachusetts (a partnership with Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and Shriver Clinical Services)
    450 Pleasant St.
    East Bridgewater, MA 02333
    617-680-8447

    For more information, please call the phone numbers listed above or visit the New England Eye website at www.newenglandeye.com.

    Contact Us

    200 Ivy Street
    Brookline, MA 02446
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    799 West Boylston Street
    Worcester, MA 01606
    • Toll Free 888-613-2777
    • Fax 508-854-0733

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