Technology Helps People Living With Vision Loss Live

Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Director of the Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center, Speaks Out on How People Living With Vision Loss Can Thrive

Sylvia Stinson-Perez

More than 3 million Americans 55 and older have difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses and only 5% of the individuals with vision loss who are eligible for services actually seek them. That's why Sylvia Stinson-Perez, director of the Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center (OIB-TAC), is speaking out about living with vision loss.

"I was born with low vision. I have always been legally blind. I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition. Therefore, I have lost more and more vision over the years, now only having light perception. Yes, it is harder to live with vision loss … but if you learn how and have a good solid network of support, it can be done … and most people have indicated that they have found new joy in life after overcoming such a big life challenge," says Stinson-Perez.

Stinson-Perez and her team recently launched a public service awareness campaign called Time To Be Bold (www.timetobebold.org) to educate, engage and empower people in need to utilize the free and low-cost services in their states that will give them the tools, technology, training, and support they need to live their bold, best lives.

Says Stinson-Perez: "People with very limited sight or blindness really benefit from a variety of technology options. Technology is truly the great equalizer for people with low vision and blindness. It also takes a toolbox of technology, as there is no one device—yet—that provides all of the help you need. I am thrilled that mainstream companies, like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have made such efforts to include built-in accessibility into more and more of their products. I use audio, Braille, and many helpful smartphone apps on a daily basis. For individuals with low vision, magnification can really make a huge difference, however, it is so important that one get a good low vision evaluation to find the right magnification and then get proper training on the magnifier. It's not enough to go online or into a medical supply store and buy a magnifier. Another very important thing for people with low vision is good organization and a system for labeling items like medications. There is no one right system, but we all need a solid system that works for us and our individual needs."

"I have had a very successful life. I've been married for almost 28 years, raised a brilliant daughter, had an amazing career, enjoyed many wonderful friendships, have hobbies and have had some fun adventures. I have never let blindness stop me … in fact, I have used it to propel me to do more and be more than maybe I would have had I not had a vision disability," she adds.

To request an interview with Sylvia Stinson-Perez, email psa@psa3.com.

Source: Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center

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Categories: Seniors

Tags: 55 and older, age-related disease, blindness, low vision