News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock // Wednesday, May 23, 2012
AUGUSTA, GA --- The low vision rehab center at Georgia Health Sciences is opening its doors to more patients with low vision problems.
Imagine being near-blind where everything you see is blurry and out of focus. Nearly 14 million Americans suffer from severe visual impairments. The new Low Vision Rehab Center at Georgia Health Sciences helps those people adapt. Mariana D'Amico, the director of the low vision rehab center said, "We have a kitchen set up here and we have a community lab with a grocery store across the hall."
The center opened three months ago and occupational therapists like D'Aimco are already treating legally blind patients. "Often times younger people are still taking care of families and want to be able to sustain their work," she said.
Abiodun Akinwuntan, a physical therapy associate professor said, "If you don't see, you mostly cannot do a good number of things."
D'Amico's clients include people in their late twenties to senior citizens in their nineties. Together they use closed circuit televisions, magnifiers for spot reading, and other tools that help people with low vision, do everyday activities like cook and see the food they eat. "Glasses help to a point for these individuals, then they need increased magnification," D'Amico said.
"Very soon we'll have more adults 65 and older amongst us," said Akinwuntan.
Ophthalmologists say as we age our vision deteriorates which means they'll have more patients looking to adapt. "It does fill that middle gap where people don't have access to other venues, we have people traveling here from 2 and 3 hours," D'Amico added.
With state of the art vision equipment like video readers and a make shift grocery store, the low vision center hopes to combines research and care to paint a clearer picture.
To be referred to the center an ophthalmologist at GHSU has to refer you to the center. The center says once they expand they'll look into reaching out to other doctors in the community and work with them as well on referrals.
Grants from the John and Mary Franklin foundation helped pay for the magnifiers and other adaptive devices.