Thanks to the efforts of multiple organizations, a 6-year-old girl with severe visual impairment will receive life-changing assistive technology on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.

The child, who was referred to Sight Savers America by Dr. Robert Gordon at the WesternU College of Optometry, has a detached retina and dislocated lenses, resulting in low vision. Low vision is a medical term defined as “chronic disabling visual impairments that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or medical or surgical treatment.” Although visual field, contrast and other factors play a role, a child can usually be considered low vision if he/she has a visual acuity of 20/200 or higher.

The child will receive the Optelec MultiView electronic video magnifier (EVM), which will allow her to make the most of her remaining vision. These vision aids are costly and are not covered by insurance. With this device, the child will be able to magnify objects such as books, magazines, coloring pages, maps, and toys up to 79 times the original size. The EVM will allow her to read faster, work on schoolwork, complete personal grooming and more, with less eye fatigue and back and neck strain.

The collaborative team includes Sight Savers America, a nationally expanding not-for-profit organization that provides free vision care for economically disadvantaged children; the WesternU College of Optometry, an innovator in the rehabilitation of children and adults with visual impairment; and Optelec U.S. Inc., a world leader in innovative and life-changing assistive technologies for the visually impaired.

The child’s new EVM will be delivered to the WesternU campus, where she will receive comprehensive training along with her mother, who is also legally blind. The doctors and interns at the College of Optometry have evaluated the child and recommended her for the EVM. She had the opportunity to have a vision rehabilitation assessment through a partnership between the College of Optometry and the California School for the Blind/California Department of Education.

College faculty will train the child and parent on how to use the EVM. Sight Savers America donated the EVM, and will provide extensive follow-up care and keep records of the child’s progress with her EVM until the child reaches the age of 19. All services are provided free of charge to the family.

“The strength of this unique collaboration lies in partnering several organizations with similar missions that allow all of us to fulfill our shared goal of helping children achieve the best vision services possible,” said Sight Savers America President and CEO Jeff Haddox. “For these kids, having the multi-view electronic magnifiers in their homes will level the playing field. They will maximize the use of their remaining vision and be able to succeed in school and achieve their independence.”

WHO: Sight Savers America/Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry – Drs. Robert Gordon and Linda Pang/Optelec U.S. Inc

WHEN: 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

WHERE:

Western University of Health Sciences Eye Care Center in the Patient Care Center

795 E. Second St. Pomona, Calif. 91766

DETAILS: Visually impaired child receives life-changing assistive technology and training to enhance their vision at the home of the child. The child, her mother and representatives from the College of Optometry will be available in person for interviews and photos. Jeff Haddox of Sight Savers America will be available by telephone. 877-942-2627, Ext. 201.