Celebrating Low Vision Awareness Month at Vision-Aid 

What is Low Vision? 

Low Vision is a condition characterized by significant vision loss that persists even with corrective measures like glasses or surgery. It poses challenges in daily activities, impacting independence and quality of life. 

The Importance of Low Vision Practice 

Low Vision Practice aims to optimize remaining vision through comprehensive evaluation, assistive devices, training, and counseling. It empowers individuals to perform tasks independently, reducing dependence on others. 

Global Impact of Low Vision 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 285 million people worldwide suffer from visual impairment. Among them, 246 million have low vision. However, only a small fraction has access to adequate low vision care, highlighting the need for awareness and intervention. 

Vision-Aid’s Approach to Accessibility 

Vision-Aid believes that accessibility to low-vision care can be achieved through awareness campaigns and proper screening, where individuals with low vision can be identified and provided with appropriate management. February marks Low Vision Awareness Month, during which a multitude of activities were conducted, and upcoming activities are planned to further this goal. 

Recent Activity: Low Vision Assessment Camp at Presidency College, Chennai 

 
Vision-Aid, in collaboration with Sankara Nethralaya and Help the Blind Foundation (HTBF), organized a Low Vision assessment camp for 26 college students on Feb 19, 2024, at Presidency College, Chennai. The entire day was dedicated to screening, involving a comprehensive low vision assessment comprising various clinical tests, including trials of different Low Vision Devices. Counseling was provided regarding the students’ ocular conditions and prognosis. Seventy-five percent of the students stand to benefit from assistive devices and aids, including spectacles, vision-enhancing devices, and glare control devices. Many students were referred to Sankara Nethralaya for detailed management of their ocular conditions, skill development, and computer training. 

Vision-Aid – Voluntary Health Services (VHS) Resource Center Screening Activity 

Recently, a screening activity was conducted by the Vision-Aid-VHS Resource Center, in collaboration with the Banyan-Adaikalam Foundation for the mental illness in Chennai. A total of 100 adults were assessed during this screening. The objective was to help patients overcome their vision difficulties through the provision of appropriate spectacles. 

Vision-Aid Advocating Best Practices: 

A lecture on the topic “Thinking beyond Assistive Devices: Unveiling the Power of Timely Screening and Referral in Low-Vision and Rehabilitative Care for the Visually Impaired” was delivered by Devi Udayakumar, Head of Low Vision Rehabilitation Programs at Vision-Aid. It was conducted on an online platform during Low Vision Awareness Month on February 22nd, 2024, Thursday by India Vision Institute (IVI). The participants were staff members of IVI from various regions across India, and they engaged in various vision screenings, management, and referrals. The focus of this lecture was to provide guidance to optometrists on Primary Low Vision Care, dispense spectacles, and educate and counsel on various aspects of low vision care. The staff joined from Chennai, Hyderabad, Salem, Namakkal, Delhi, and Bangalore. 

Positive feedback was received from the team, stating that the session conducted was enlightening and helped in gaining a thorough knowledge of Low Vision care. 

 
Upcoming Activity of Vision-Aid resource center at Pune

A Continuous Medical Education (CME) is planned on Advancement in Low Vision Practice and awareness by Community Eye Care Foundation, Vision Aid- USA under the aegis of Maharashtra Ophthalmology Society (MOS) and Pune Ophthalmological Society (POS). It is scheduled on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024, in Pune where eminent speakers from Low vision care practice and Vision-Aid are going to share their experience in Low Vision Practice and Assistive devices. There is going to be a Panel discussion on Low Vision Practice with case discussions and a Hands-on session for assistive devices focusing on Smart Vision Glasses. 

Conclusion: 

In summary, Vision-Aid’s proactive efforts in enhancing accessibility to low vision care are evident through its collaborative screenings, informative lectures, and upcoming educational events. By providing comprehensive assessments, assistive devices, and counseling, Vision-Aid empowers individuals with low vision to lead more independent lives. Through ongoing partnerships and initiatives, Vision-Aid continues to champion best practices and raise awareness, ensuring that those in need receive the support they deserve. Together, with the dedication of its team and the support of communities, Vision-Aid remains committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with low vision worldwide. 

Vision-Aid India Relaunches its Website

The launch of this new website gives us renewed hope that India will see more lives of the visually impaired being transformed.

Vision-Aid Newsletter

Vision-Aid Course Catalog

Vision-Aid Model

A Digital Accessibility Testing Testimonial | Nibin Mathews

Nibin Mathews’ journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing

significant visual impairment challenges since birth, Nibin pursued education with unwavering determination. Losing sight in one eye due to a cricket ball stroke in 6th grade and later losing vision in the other eye to glaucoma didn’t deter him. He completed his Bachelor’s in English and even secured a job with Indian Railways. Yet, his thirst for knowledge led him to pursue computer programming, which he found through Vision-Aid. With their specialized training, he mastered coding and digital accessibility testing. With their financial support, he pursued a Master’s degree. Now, as the Accessibility Lead at Bosch Global Software Technologies, he’s excelling professionally. But Nibin’s achievements don’t stop there; he’s also an international tennis champion and a skilled violinist. He attributes much of his success to Vision-Aid, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey. His story is not just one of personal triumph but also a testament to the impact of support systems in overcoming challenges and inspiring others.

A Job Coaching for Banking and other exams Testimonial | Gautam Gulati

Meet Gautam, a remarkable individual based in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, whose life story is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of organizations like Vision-Aid India.

Gautam’s life commenced with the diagnosis of Retinist Pigmentosa. Despite experiencing a 40% loss of sight, he persevered through attending a regular school, successfully completing his education and earning a B Com degree. His world took an unexpected turn after graduation, when, he had the major sight loss. Faced with the challenges of navigating everyday activities like driving, reading, writing print, and mobility etc. Yet, rather than allowing these obstacles to define him, he chose a path of resilience and determination. Undeterred by his circumstances, Gautam turned to technology, becoming dependent on tools designed for visually impaired individuals, including screen readers. His quest for independence led him to explore new technologies with the support of various NGOs. Through his social networks, Gautam discovered Vision-Aid India, an organization dedicated to empowering the visually impaired. Recognizing the potential for growth, he enrolled in Vision-Aid’s IBPS banking crash course, specifically tailored for visually impaired individuals, in April 2022.

Determined to enhance his skills further, Gautam pursued an additional course in mobile technology. This commitment to personal and professional growth showcased his unwavering spirit and determination.

Armed with newfound knowledge, Gautam faced the Bank of India Credit Officer exam after completing the IBPS crash course. His hard work, coupled with the right guidance from Vision-Aid, resulted in success. In 2023, Gautam proudly joined Bank of India as a Credit Officer, marking a significant milestone in his journey.

Gautam attributes his success and newfound independence to Vision-Aid India. With deep gratitude, he acknowledges the organization’s role in providing IBPS coaching and shaping his path towards independence.

A Python Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.

Bindhu Sri

Meet Bindu, from Hyderabad. Who began her life with the gift of perfect vision? She embarked on her educational journey in a conventional school, but at the tender age of 9, her world dimmed as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) impacted her sight. Loosing major of her vision with lot of challenges she still could complete her graduate degree in 2020 and her post-graduate degree in 2022. Being interested to pursue her career in computer programming she discovered Vision-Aid India, a beacon of hope and opportunity. Enrolling in their online certification programs, Bindu successfully completed both Python and SQL languages. Armed with these newfound skills, she opened doors to her career, securing a position as a Data Engineer at RX Data Science, a renowned company.

“All of this was made possible through the invaluable support and guidance provided by Vision-Aid India” She Says.

A HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ARIA Fundamentals for Accessible Web Development Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.