New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins

A girl points to an object held by Dr. Luisa Mayer.


New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins
P: 617-972-7296
F: 617-972-7297

The New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins offers excellence in clinical eye care, support and training for optimal use of functional vision and a caring, compassionate environment focused on each patient’s individual needs. A collaboration of professionals from Perkins, The New England Eye Institute and The New England College of Optometry, the Clinic provides primary and consultative eye care for infants, children and adults who have visual, physical and/or cognitive disabilities.

For more than 20 years we have treated Perkins students and individuals from across the U.S. and other countries who seek the expertise practiced here on our Watertown campus. The New England Eye Low Vision Clinic is one of the region’s few facilities that serves patients of all ages with multiple disabilities. Our experts are available to suggest and develop solutions for people with low vision who want to improve their daily living, education and employment.


  • Comprehensive, complete eye exams
  • Physically accessible room
  • Low vision devices, such as hand-held magnifiers and the latest electronic magnification systems
  • Practical alternatives for functioning with vision loss (e.g. lighting)
  • Experienced staff including a certified low vision therapist, orientation and mobility specialist, visual fields specialist and pediatric optometrist who consider the educational and functional needs of the patient
  • Narrative eye reports on all patients containing recommendations for parents, caregivers, doctors and teachers

Frequently Asked Questions About the Low Vision Clinic

How is the New England Eye Low Vision Clinic at Perkins different from other clinics or doctors?

Our team of specialists can provide a wide range of eye care services that includes:

  • “Modified” Comprehensive Eye Exam – This exam is very similar to a regular eye exam and includes a review of medical/education/rehabilitation history, determines the need for spectacles, evaluates use of binocular vision, and evaluates external and internal eye health (may include dilating drops). Special charts and testing methods are used to provide a comfortable, understanding environment. A “Modified” Comprehensive Eye Exam is often needed when people have multiple impairments or communication/behavioral issues that make it difficult to receive a complete eye exam.
  • Clinical Functional Vision Examination – This type of exam seeks to determine how a person uses their vision functionally throughout the day. It includes many components of a “Modified” Comprehensive Eye Exam but also looks at the need for optical/non-optical low vision devices and general recommendations for school and home. A Clinical Functional Vision Exam can often provide more information about a patient's functional use of vision than has been included on a regular eye report, particularly if “blind” or “untestable” is the only description of visual ability listed. This should be conducted whenever there is a change in visual behavior or at coordinated times with the education/rehabilitation team.
  • Visual Field Examination - This highly specialized exam seeks to measure the peripheral visual fields (the area in which a person can see objects simultaneously) of an individual using a variety of instruments and techniques. A Visual Field Examination requires a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor within the last year.

Who Will Be There?

Because we use a collaborative approach to the exam and are a teaching clinic for New England Eye Institute, you will meet several professionals during your visit. We encourage any or all of the patient’s education or rehabilitation team to attend an examination. This would include parents, classroom teachers, teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialists or other special service providers. When you arrive you will probably be greeted by our secretary or clinic coordinator.

What information should I bring to the appointment?

View the Preparing for your appointment checklist and authorization form »

If this is your first time to our clinic we will need to have copies of all previous eye exams as well as any other educational/medical evaluations that have been conducted such as:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Learning Media Assessment
  • Community-based Functional Vision Assessment
  • Neuropsych Exam

How much does it cost?

We can bill most medical insurance plans. However, we do not provide a “routine” eye exam. Therefore, you must request a referral from your child’s Pediatrician or Primary Care Physician (PCP). Check with your insurance company -- if our service is not covered by your medical insurance, then we will require payment at the time of your appointment. The cost of an annual exam is $185.00 and then $85.00 for each follow-up appointment within the year.

Sometimes, school systems will pay for the exam. If this is the case, we must have a letter from the school with the payment amount and billing information.

Do you only see children?

Our specialty is working with individuals of all ages with vision loss and multiple impairments, however we can provide exams for people of all ages with or without a visual impairment.

Can I buy magnifiers at your clinic?

Yes, as long as you have a doctor's recommendation or prescription. We don't have a store, but we can help you order a specific device and then have it sent directly to your home.

How long does an appointment last?

Usually we like to allow 1 ½ hours for a full examination, but it doesn't always take this long. Having plenty of time for people to become comfortable in a new place, or for families and teachers to ask plenty of questions is important to us.

Fact Sheets from our staff