Brenda Wendling, Director of Adult Services at the St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired, and Dr. Becky Lory, O.D., Low Vision Specialist at the Society’s Drews Low Vision Clinic, will deliver a one-hour presentation that will be helpful for people who are visually impaired or who know people impacted by visual impairments.
“Living with Macular Degeneration & Low Vision: Good Health, Safety & Independence”
Dr. Lory and Ms. Wendling will discuss tools and resources for maintaining health, safety and independence for people with vision loss, and the importance of having a functional Low Vision Evaluation at least once a year. Health and safety issues discussed will include helpful tips for working in the kitchen, mobility (moving about a home and in the community), medications and access to transportation. Resources will include information about the Society’s free and low-cost programs, services, devices and transportation.
The presentation will include a discussion of the growing number of people in St. Louis impacted by low vision and the major types of vision loss affecting adults (Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataracts), plus a review of specific types of vision loss each diagnosis brings.
David Ekin, ACSW, LCSW, President of the St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired, said, “This presentation is part of the Society’s community outreach services. We want to provide useful information and valuable resources for the growing number of Missourians who are experiencing vision loss. For thousands of people in greater St. Louis and southwestern Illinois, vision loss is creating an increased risk for health and safety, disability, loss of productivity and diminished quality of life. The Society is working to broaden our services to accommodate greater numbers of people who are visually impaired and who visit our facilities, including our Drews Low Vision Clinic.” (www.DrewsLowVisionClinic.org)
“The incidence of vision impairment is expanding among all racial and ethnic groups in Missouri, particularly among people who are older than 50 years,” Ekin said. “In Missouri, the incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is expected to nearly double in years ahead for people age 50 and older. AMD is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment among people aged 65 and older, according to The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group.”
Ekin added, “There is significant need for Vision Rehabilitation Services for individuals who are under age 65 in metro St. Louis. Locally, almost 120,000 people ages 45 to 64 and 47,000 people ages 20 to 44 suffer from vision loss, data shows. When spouses, children and family members are included, nearly 670,000 local people are impacted by vision loss in these younger age groups.”
Founded in 1911, the St. Louis Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired enhances independence, empowers individuals and enriches the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired including children, adults, senior citizens and their families. The Society’s caring, qualified staff provides specialized vision rehabilitation, adaptive education, assistive technology and support services. The not-for-profit Society serves an increasing number of older adults who are newly visually impaired, blind or deaf-blind due to age-related eye conditions by providing home-based services, specialized agency services and community activities. It also provides support to school-age students at school districts in Illinois and Missouri, and at the Society.
For information about the Society for the Blind & Visually Impaired, call 314.968.9000 or visit the Society website at http://slsbvi.org. Media relations contact: Jeff Dunlap at 314.993.6925.