Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Certification (CVRT) Handbook, Section 2 - Scope of Practice

Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists ("CVRTs") comprise a highly trained cadre of rehabilitation experts who specialize in working with individuals who are blind, visually impaired or who have functional visual limitations, empowering individuals to achieve their maximum life goals for education, employment, personal safety and independence.

CVRTs engage in a comprehensive approach to vision rehabilitation addressing visual, physical, cognitive, psycho-social, safety and emotional concerns through training in the use of compensatory skills, integration of existing and emerging technology and targeted adjustment counseling. Methods and strategies include use of non-visual techniques, visual enhancement devices and strategies, universal design and problem-based learning.

CVRTs provide service in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, hospitals, governmental rehabilitation agencies, private, non-profit agencies, workplaces, educational settings, assistive living facilities, senior living facilities, consumers' homes and in the community. CVRTs function as members of an interdisciplinary team comprised of, but not limited to, eye care, health care, rehabilitation and education professionals working with consumers and their families. Specific responsibilities of CVRTs include interpretation of medical eye reports; analysis of medical implications for optimizing visual functioning; assessment of functional limitations; development and implementation of individualized and evidence-based objective-based learning and intervention programs; promotion of safety and wellness; management of individualized case records; identification of local, regional and national resources, and facilitation of psycho- social acceptance of vision loss. Training is provided in compensatory skills such as:

  • Use of residual vision for enhanced functioning
  • Independent Living: Personal and home management and safety skills
  • Adaptive communications
  • Braille
  • Access/Assistive technologies
  • Recreation and Leisure
  • Indoor orientation and basic mobility techniques and safety
  • Jobsite accommodations
  • Environmental modifications that will aid in the prevention of falls

[Editor note: this does not include evaluation, prescription or instruction in the use of a support cane or long cane. If a CVRT observes that a consumer may benefit from a support cane or long cane they are to make a referral to the appropriate professional.]

CVRTs work with a diverse range of individuals of all ages including persons with congenital or adventitious vision loss and blindness. In addition to working with individuals who have vision loss, CVRTs also provide individualized programs of instruction targeted to address the specific needs of individuals with disabilities concomitant to visual impairment including, but not limited to those who are deafblind, or who have diabetes, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, and age-related disabilities.

Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists are committed to excellence in serving individuals who are blind or have low vision to facilitate dignity, independence, and respect with successful outcomes for enhancement of quality of life and/or engaging in substantial gainful employment.