Tag Archives: blind

Blindness Awareness Month

Blindness Awareness Month

It’s Blindness Awareness Month, and blindness affects more people than most realize.

Worldwide, over 285 million people are visually impaired, and over 39 million of those people are completely blind.

The Rate of Blindness

 

10 million Americans have retinal diseases, which affect the tissue at the back of your eye. They can get worse over time.

Retinal Diseases

 

Some people lose peripheral and night vision without losing their central vision. It depends on how retinal diseases affect them.

Losing Types of Vision

 

Retinal diseases include macular degeneration. Many people go blind over time with macular degeneration.

Symptoms of retinal diseases include seeing flecks, blurred vision, poor side vision, or vision lost.

Retinal Disease Symptoms

 

If you’re worried you’re suffering from a retinal disease, your eye doctor can run some tests and talk to you about treatment options.

Tests for Retinal Diseases

 

There are ways to take it easy on your eyes, like having your glasses prescription updated and choosing appliances made for low vision.

Making It Easy for Your Eyes

Blind Prespective

Vantage Point: Local Organization Puts Struggles of Blind in Plain Sight

During my outreach travels for Health Alliance Medicare, I’ve been blown away by the beauty of the sun rising over the cornfields of the Columbia Basin and eagles nesting along the Wenatchee River. Recently meeting Jodi Duncan of Samara’s Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired, however, inspires me to never take my sight for granted.

Jodi founded Samara’s, named after her daughter who developed juvenile diabetes at age 9 and began losing her vision in her early 20s. Before passing from the disease in 1995, Samara asked her mom, “How come they can’t help people like me?”

In Jodi’s grief, she took that question to heart.

The foundation’s mission is to give people with sight impairments the opportunity to improve their quality of life and further learning through advocacy and technological support. Samara’s work includes providing audio crosswalks, Braille printers, magnifying equipment, teacher training programs, and camp opportunities for all ages. Samara’s outreach within Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties relies on funding from events that Jodi’s small army of volunteers organize and facilitate.

One of the biggest myths about Samara’s foundation is that a person in need has to rent the equipment. All equipment is loaned free of charge, and 100 percent of the money Samara’s raises stays local. Some fundraisers include a quilt raffle or a “Dinner in the Dark,” where participants eat blindfolded.

For information or for ways to support Samara’s, please call 509-470-8080 or visit Samaras.org.

Through my work at Health Alliance Medicare, I regularly get the opportunity to help connect people to valuable community resources. But in meeting Jodi, I could not help but be especially touched as tears still well in her eyes while talking about her daughter. This showed me the foundation named in Samara’s honor is more than just a non-profit—it is the work of a mother’s eternal love.