All You Ever Wanted to Know about Low Vision, but Were Afraid to Ask

By Edgar Facemyer, Chair

As we reported in a previous edition of The PCB Advocate, the Low-Vision Committee conducted a low-vision seminar in Harrisburg prior to the 2013 PCB state convention. The third and final part of the program focused on the social and psychological aspects of low vision. A most interesting phenomenon occurred as a result of the power of group dynamics. Toward the end of the session, members of the audience, including some who were not members of PCB, were invited to share their personal feelings and experiences relating to their low vision. At that point, we appeared to be in something like a support group mode. The hour allotted for this session passed quickly. I believe many would have wanted to continue the discussion beyond the 4:00 p.m. closing time.

That having been said, the Low-Vision Committee would like to pose the question: What if we could have a state-wide low-vision discussion group? Perhaps this would be a group open to anyone with a serious interest in discussing topics that persons with low vision might not have the opportunity to talk about with others living with sight loss. They might also not feel comfortable discussing such topics with their families and friends. As most of you know, PCB has a teleconference account that can handle many callers at once. Right now, this service is mainly used for committee meetings, board meetings, leadership calls, and monthly at-large discussions. Our committee plans to take advantage of this conference service in order to provide such a low-vision discussion group.

We are pleased to announce that on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, beginning at 8:00 p.m., the Low-Vision Committee will hold a teleconference call dedicated to topics that we think will be of interest to anyone with a desire to discuss issues pertaining to low vision. So, mark your calendars and stay alert for the call-in details to come. Here are some of the topics we have come up with so far.

• Effects of poor lighting and contrast on the ability for persons with low vision to function confidently.
• Complications caused by decreasing and/or fluctuating vision.
• Embarrassment caused by not being able to rely on failing vision to accomplish a task when in the company of sighted family or friends.
• The temptation to pass oneself off as being fully sighted when sight has decreased significantly.
• Reluctance to adopt the use of alternative techniques and skills when vision no longer is sufficient to accomplish routine activities of daily living.
• Uncomfortable feelings sometimes felt by persons with low vision when they feel certain family members and friends lack understanding of their vision loss situation.
• Unanswered questions low-vision patients may have about their visual diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and, in some cases, how long will it be until they see normally again.

We know some of these topics are not easy to talk about, but we believe some of us have experienced some of these situations, or we know someone who is facing such challenges on a daily basis.

Get ready to join the dialogue. If you have any suggestions for discussion topics, we want to hear from you. Direct your comments and suggestions to Ed Facemyer, Low-Vision Committee Chair at 610-647-3365 or efacem@verizon.net.

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