Browse By Topic: Support Groups

If you've been diagnosed with an eye condition, have a family member who has, or have become a caregiver, joining a vision loss support group may be the most important thing you'll ever do. Learn more about vision loss support groups and their role in the adjustment process, find resources to help you locate a vision loss support group, and read personal stories about people who are living independently after vision loss. You can also learn more about the wide range of helpful products and vision rehabilitation services that can help you continue to live independently in your home and community. Register to receive alerts and news relating to vision loss, including the latest updates in medical research.

New Research: The Importance of Supporting the Well-Being of Adults with Sensory Loss and Their Spouses in Rehabilitation

Many websites, including VisionAware, emphasize the importance of emotional support and coping strategies when dealing with adult-onset vision loss and combined vision and hearing loss. Some of these strategies include joining peer support groups;


New Research: Emotional Support and Physician Communication Must Accompany Medical Treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Although the advent of anti-VEGF therapy (explained below), administered via eye injection with Lucentis, Eylea, or Avastin, has revolutionized the treatment (but not cure) of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there remain a number of challenges associated with


American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference Recap: Some Critical Issues for Older Persons with Vision Loss

Guest blogger Kay McGill (pictured at left recording a Public Service Announcement) is the manager of Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Adults Age 55 and Over. The Georgia Vision Program is administered by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and provides the following services to people who are at least 55 years old and have vision loss or a combined vision and hearing loss: comprehensive


New Research Explained: Restoring Vision Following Long-Term Blindness: Prosthetic Vision and Considerations for Rehabilitation

During the past several years, there has been much "buzz" in the popular press about the capabilities of the so-called "bionic" eye, described variously as "miraculous," "restoring sight," and "letting me see again." At VisionAware, we have followed the development of "bionic" or "prosthetic" vision closely, avoiding hyperbole and striving to report factual, research-based information about the limitations of restored vision. Now, in this month's edition of the Journal of Vision Impairment & Blindness, two researchers who are pioneers in the study of prosthetic vision analyze the current state of the art in


New Research: Stepped Care for Coping with Age-Related Vision Loss, Depression, and Anxiety

New research from Europe indicates that stepped care – a type of treatment that can offer self-help and "as needed" options for coping with age-related vision loss and depression – can offer promise in dealing with depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults. Further, this stepped care approach (detailed below) could lead to standardized strategies for the screening, monitoring, treatment, and referral of visually impaired older adults with vision-related depression and anxiety. From the British Medical Journal (BMJ) The research, entitled


New Research on Marijuana Use for Glaucoma: Is Education Enough, or Is Emotional Support also Necessary?

New glaucoma research from The George Washington University in Washington, DC indicates that the factors associated with patients' intentions to use marijuana for glaucoma include their perceptions of the legality of marijuana use as well as satisfaction (or not) with their current standard of glaucoma care. The researchers conclude that patients need to be educated about marijuana and its specific effects on glaucoma, which they note is not supported by scientific evidence. In an editorial response to the research, however, two


AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with


Meet Doug Anzlovar and the New "Low Vision Focus @ Hadley" Program at The Hadley School for the Blind

Doug Anzlovar is the Vice President of Education and Training at The Hadley School for the Blind, where he serves as a member of the administrative team, oversees a 31-member faculty, is involved in curriculum decisions and policy development, and oversees the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Prior to joining Hadley, Doug worked as a teacher of the visually impaired in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 10 years. While at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Doug developed a resource program for students with visual impairments and later became chair


Introducing Stuart Carduner, Glaucoma Patient and Advocate

Editor's note: Just in time for World Glaucoma Week, VisionAware is introducing a new Patient's Guide for Living with Glaucoma, written by a person who has glaucoma from his perspective. By Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer advisor Author of Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma Is Both Patient and Advocate Stuart Carduner, author of the Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma, knows that many patients enter the ophthalmologist's office with a good


Meet Donald C. Fletcher, M.D., Internationally Recognized Authority on Low Vision Rehabilitation

Donald C. Fletcher, M.D., is one of the world's leading authorities on low vision rehabilitation. Dr. Fletcher is a clinician and researcher in the field of retinal diseases and low vision rehabilitation. He is a medical doctor and an ophthalmologist who has completed fellowship training in both retinal diseases and low vision rehabilitation. After completing surgical training, he gave up surgery to devote his practice to patients who could not have their vision restored by any medical means. He is affiliated with, and routinely sees patients


New Research: Which Factors Influence Persons with Low Vision to Pursue Rehabilitation Services?

When is the best time for a person to pursue low vision rehabilitation services? What are the factors that influence a person to make a "positive personal choice" to seek out low vision rehabilitation? A multi-disciplinary group of Canadian researchers has attempted to answer these questions, via a study that (a) categorizes the "predictors of awareness" of low vision rehabilitation services and (b) examines the critical factors that influence an individual's decision to access vision rehabilitation services. They conclude that, even


Meet Nancy D. Miller, CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in New York City

Ms. Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, began working with people of all ages who are blind, visually impaired, and multi-disabled in 1971. Since 1987, she has been Executive Director/CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an 88-year-old vision rehabilitation and social service organization in New York City. Ms. Miller has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University, a Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and is a New York State licensed social worker. In


What's So Wrong with "Elderspeak," Anyway? Answer: Everything

Hypocorisma: It's the bane of older adulthood. What is hypocorisma, you ask? Here is a helpful (and perceptive) definition from Maeve Maddox at the excellent Daily Writing Tips blog: Hypocorisma is a type of euphemism derived from a Greek word meaning "pet name." The English word hypocorism may be defined as "the diminutive or otherwise altered version of a given name." The use of diminutives and pet names is usually an indication of affection or intimacy, but sometimes hypocorisma is used to diminish, infantilize, or insult. For example, the


Meet Kooshay Malek, MA, MFT, Marriage and Family Therapist – Who Also Happens to Be Blind

Kooshay Malek, MA, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She also writes for the Discovery Eye Foundation Blog, which features lively, up-to-date information on eye disease, eye research, nutrition, low vision, technology, and healthy lifestyle choices. The following essay, in which Kooshay recounts her concurrent personal, medical, and educational journeys from Tehran to Boston to Los Angeles, was first published on the Discovery Eye Blog as


Integrated Low Vision and Mental Health Treatment Can Reduce or Prevent Depression

The first clinical trial to examine integrated low vision and mental health treatment – bridging ophthalmology, optometry, psychiatry, psychology, and rehabilitation – has demonstrated that an interdisciplinary rehabilitation program can reduce the incidence of depression by half among older adults with low vision due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Ophthalmology: the Journal The research, entitled Low Vision Depression Prevention Trial in Age-Related Macular


Out of the Whirlpool: The Story of a Suicide Attempt Survivor and the Rebuilding of a Life

Sue Wiygul Martin is the author of a just-published personal memoir, entitled Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation, which she describes as "the story of a suicide attempt survivor and the rebuilding of a life." Out of the Whirlpool, which began as a series of blog posts, describes Sue's suicide attempt at age 26, her subsequent blindness, and the long, hard road she follows to rebuild her life – and herself – as a blind person and blind rehabilitation professional. Sue, who is a


When the Eyes Play Tricks: Charles Bonnet Syndrome Explains Visual Hallucinations in Those With Visual Impairments

Editor's note: Information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome is of major interest to our visitors. It is often misunderstood by people experiencing the visual hallucinations and by professionals. So Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer adviser, decided to share Dolores's story to enlighten readers. Visual Hallucinations One night, 75-year-old Dolores woke up to find a huge tree growing beside her bed. Dolores is not a character out of a fiction story but one of many individuals who experience visual hallucinations brought on by vision loss. Dolores later learned


A New Independent Living Series from Hadley School for the Blind

As our readers know, I have great admiration for the ongoing – and important – educational commitment of The Hadley School for the Blind. The mission of Hadley is to promote independent living through lifelong distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families, and blindness service providers. A New "Mini-Course" Independent Living Series from Hadley Hadley's new Independent Living series takes a mini-course approach, allowing students to focus on a specific aspect of independent living, based on individual needs and interests. The


A New Low Vision Publication from the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International

The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) has just published Insights into Low Vision, a compilation of tools, tips, techniques, and research updates for peer advocates, family members, professionals, and individuals with low vision. Here is more information about this much-needed publication from the CCLVI website: CCLVI's new publication, Insights into Low Vision … has articles by 26 authors, all nationally-known specialists in


VisionExchange: A Support Group for Support Group Leaders by Guest Blogger Polly Abbott, CVRT

In honor of Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) Appreciation Week (June 23-29), VisionAware is featuring the work of talented VRTs throughout the United States. Polly Abbott is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), an Orientation and Mobility Specialist with a background in education, and Director of Rehabilitation Services at Second Sense in Chicago,


Second Sense Blog "Jalapeños in the Oatmeal" Tackles Emotional Issues with Candor and Charm

It's time for some VisionAware blogroll love once again. As I explained in my introductory "blogroll love" post, ...the VisionAware "blind bloggers" collective is a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center for our ever-growing audience. You'll discover great writing there – and not only about blindness. My favorite bloggers are people who happen to be blind – and who have much to say about life's joys, sorrows, and everything else that makes us human. This week, I'd like you to meet the talented writer and blogger from Jalapeños in the Oatmeal. Jalapeños in the Oatmeal:


More Follow-Up To the Coping with Vision Loss Study

As always, it's highly informative to follow up with VisionAware author Kaye Olson, the coordinator of the Coping with Vision Loss Study, which investigated the wide range of coping strategies used by adults and older adults who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision. Following Up: The Field Responds Several weeks ago, I blogged about the follow-up


Following Up: The Coping with Vision Loss Study

It's always interesting – and informative – to have the opportunity to follow up with the subjects of a story we've published on the VisionAware website. Recently, I had such an opportunity with the authors of the Coping with Vision Loss Study, which investigated the wide range of coping strategies used by adults and older adults who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision. About the Authors Kaye Olson (pictured left), coordinator of the Coping with Vision Loss Study, has


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