Seminar focuses on eye diseases

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Emily Garcia, an instructor at Braille Institute, discusses the white cane, which is available for persons with impaired vision at a seminar on Tuesday.

The Braille Institute hosted a seminar titled “Understanding Vision Loss,” where an instructor from the institute spoke about different types of eye diseases and protection used against them on Tuesday at the Fullerton Community Center.

Emily Garcia, the seminar instructor, discussed the five most common eye diseases. The most common in older people is macular degeneration, which causes the person to lose central vision in their eye, making it difficult for the person to recognize faces.

The second disease Garcia spoke about was diabetic retinopathy. This disease is caused when the person does not keep up with their insulin shots and it causes their vision to become blurred and spotty.

Diabetic retinopathy is similar to cataracts, which was the next disease Garcia spoke about. Cataracts cause blurry vision, but the eye does not become spotty.

She then spoke about glaucoma and total blindness. Glaucoma can cause tunnel vision without warning and leave the person partially blind. Total blindness leaves the person with no vision at all.

Garcia said she understands what vision loss can mean to people.

“Our proposal is to help people with vision problems,” said Garcia. “How to keep their daily living or independence because when you have a vision problem you start feeling like you can’t do anything else.”

She presented the audience with various items that could help them with their vision.

These items ranged from a watch that tells wearers the date and time to a recorder that played audio books. Garcia said these types of devices were shown to help and encourage those who suffer from vision problems.

Barbara Rice, an attendee seeking help for her husband’s vision problems, said the devices could benefit her husband.

She added that the devices available for her husband is what stood out the most to her during the seminar.

Garcia said that the Braille Institute is a non-profit organization that provides classes for free to those who need help.

One of the classes she mentioned was the institute’s low vision rehabilitation service.

In these classes people who are suffering with low vision loss will go through complex forms of special lighting and magnification which could help improve their eyesight.

The Braille Institute also has an emotional impact of sight loss class that helps people who are having trouble dealing with their loss of eyesight, according to Garcia.

The Braille Institute also offers techniques for people who are not blind to help those who are.

Maryann Meade, who attended the seminar on behalf of her son, said she was satisfied with the Braille Institute’s classes.

When asked what stood out the most about the seminar and the Braille Institutes classes, she responded, “That it’s free.”


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