Lighthouse Guild: Increasing Access to Vision and Health Services

 Increasing Access to Vision and Health Services 

Lighthouse Guild’s “Community Connections” program has expanded collaborations with local housing and senior resources to ensure that area residents are connected with the vision and health services they need to remain healthy, safe and self-sufficient in their homes. 

Vision, Health and Access to Services: 

Project leaders arrange for educational presentations, currently provided virtually, on a variety of vision and health topics, as well as Lighthouse Guild’s services. Follow up contacts ensure that area residents are connected with the services they need. Ongoing contact with community leaders and participation in neighborhood events are major program components, as well. 

The community includes a large percentage of older adults, many of whom are low-income and in need of greater access to vision and health information and care. Vision impairment affects one in six adults age 65 and older, caused by eye conditions such as diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. 

A major program emphasis has been on diabetes education and care for people of all ages with vision loss. All diabetics are at risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, a condition that develops in people with long-term diabetes. Diabetes is now the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness among Americans ages 25-70 years. People with diabetes are living longer, and can maintain their overall health, including vision health, if they are aware of and compliant with healthy lifestyle choices. 

Program offerings include

  • Virtual presentations by skilled Lighthouse Guild personnel on topics such as:
    • Aging and Vision: what to expect, living with low vision
    • Tips for Living with Vision Challenges During COVID-19
    • Coping with Vision Loss and Other Chronic Conditions: adjusting to and managing life with vision impairment
    • Living Better with eye conditions, e.g., diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma
    • Operation Safe Travel: how to get around the community, access public transportation, etc.
    • Technology for People with Vision Loss: growing options for daily living
    • Creating a Vision-Friendly Environment: expert advice on lighting and home adaptations to ensure safety
    • Managing Diabetes to Save Sight: diabetes management, with nutrition and lifestyle tips
    • Low vision rehabilitation services: training programs for people with vision impairment to remain self-sufficient at home, productive at work and active in the community; 
  • Functional vision screening questionnaires to identify those in need of services; 
  • Informational materials on vision and health topics and services available. 
  • Individual visits to and contacts with area physicians, especially ophthalmologists and optometrists, to ensure that they were aware of available vision and health services to refer their patients who can benefit from them. 

Lighthouse Guild is dedicated to addressing and preventing vision loss through coordinated vision and health services. With Lighthouse Guild, people who are at risk for, or affected by, vision loss have access to the resources necessary to lead full, independent and productive lives. 

Contact: Janet Weinstein, Director of Outreach: 917-386-9481; weinsteinj@lighthouseguild.org Lisa Beth Miller, LCSW-R, BCD, Outreach/Referral Coordinator: 917-386-9197; millerl@lighthouseguild.org