By Ed Facemyer
The current focus of the Low Vision Committee is completing work on our paper outlining guidelines for planning, publicizing, and conducting a low vision seminar. Although we will be providing this document to chapters when it is finalized, we thought you might be interested in a preview of our work. The final version may well be a little different, but this will give you an idea of what we are doing.
Once you have decided the date and time of the event, you will need to select the topics that will be covered and who will present them. For the purposes of this paper, we are recommending that your planning committee give consideration to covering the following three areas.
1. A discussion of the medical aspects of low vision and an introduction to the use of low vision devices designed to maximize remaining vision would be extremely helpful. Engage an ophthalmologist who is knowledgeable about the subject of low vision and an optometrist specializing in the assessment and prescription of low vision aids, often referred to as Low Vision Specialists. If you plan to offer breaks and extra time after the seminar, ask a Low Vision Specialist to set up a display of low vision devices he or she can show to attendees.
2. Consider a presentation on techniques and strategies (tips and tricks) that persons with low vision can use for accomplishing tasks of daily living. Presenters best suited to cover this topic would be professionals such as Rehabilitation Teachers of The Visually Impaired or Occupational Therapists trained to work with persons who are blind or visually impaired.
3. The social, psychological and emotional aspects of low vision experienced by persons who have lost significant amounts of eye sight can be an invaluable presentation. Choosing a presenter for this topic requires some serious thought because if not handled properly, more harm than good can result. This topic must be covered in a way that those who are experiencing low self- esteem or depression and not knowing how to find help, will come away with a positive attitude toward their sight loss. The presenter for this topic must be able to discuss this topic in a frank and open manner that gives hope to members of the audience who are struggling to make the adjustments they need to move forward in dealing with their low vision issues as well as to seek to become a part of the low vision community. An ideal presenter for this topic would be a person with low vision, certified in the area of counseling persons who are visually impaired.
Finally, we are still collecting personal stories of individuals living with low vision. Several great stories have appeared in previous issues of The PCB Advocate. You can be sure any personal stories we see in this magazine or any other source will be collected by us. If you have any such materials, please forward them to our committee. My contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org and 610-647-3365. Have a great summer.