February’s Low Vision Awareness Month Attracts Additional Supporters

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NEW YORK—Optical organizations across the country are observing February as Low Vision Awareness Month, offering resources, tips and education tools to eyecare practitioners and the public regarding conditions leading to and treatment options for low vision. Along with Prevent Blindness, who is showing support with several dedicated fact sheets available free online and by phone, as reported by VMail last month, The Vision Council and the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS) are among organizations to join the initiative this month.

The Vision Council is offering online resources to both ECPs and consumers regarding low vision, MagnifyYourFuture.com, an online component for ECPs that provides course materials from past presentations, practice tips, exam videos and other resources, and whatislowvision.org, a website for consumers that defines low vision, provides information on low vision devices and care and features a doctor locator that patients may use to find an ECP close to them, The Vision Council told VMail. In addition, both low vision and AMD are discussed in the whatislowvision.org blog, such as in a recent post released by The Vision Council on Feb. 5.

The Vision Council’s Low Vision Division will also be offering CE courses at Vision Expo East, The Vision Council told VMail, including “Low Vision Rehabilitation in the Private Practice: Tips for the Optometrist and the Optician” and “Creating a Niche,” scheduled for March 28, and “Intro to Low Vision for Opticians and Technicians,” scheduled for March 29.

IALVS, a group of optometrists who are specially trained in low vision and prescription lenses for patients experiencing AMD and other conditions that lead to low vision, such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, said its focus for Low Vision Awareness Month is to define low vision conditions as well as illuminate IALVS treatment options.

According to the group, more than 11 million Americans suffer from some form of AMD, a number that is expected to double by the year 2050, but many are unaware of the condition’s causes and management.

“Many people might ask, ‘what exactly is low vision?’ It’s a common question,” said Richard Shuldiner, OD, founder of IALVS, who defined low vision as “a term normally used to mean ‘partial sight’ or sight that isn’t fully correctable with surgery, medications, contact lenses or glasses.”

“What we hope to achieve with February’s Low Vision Awareness Month is to educate patients to seek a second opinion through an IALVS doctor,” he continued. “We are trained to equip patients with custom low vision telescope, microscope, prismatic and other unique glasses that can truly make a difference in quality of life.”

IALVS is offering free consultations via their website at www.LowVisionEyeDoctors.com or by phone at (888) 778-2030.