In the course of providing our signature follow-up eye care services through our Eye Care Program, we realized that children with severe visual impairment also had an unmet need for vision assistive technology. We responded by adding our Low Vision Program, which is dedicated to serving children with low vision who cannot afford the assistive technology essential to a child’s self-sufficiency and well-being.
SSA is the only organization in the United States that proactively places high-tech vision aids, such as the Onyx Electronic Video Magnifier (EVM), into the homes of severely vision impaired children on a large scale – all at no cost to qualifying families. EVMs are more expensive than the average family can afford and are not covered by medical insurance.
EVMs are life-changing devices that allow each child to make the most of his or her remaining vision. They dramatically enhance contrast and magnify objects up to 118x, and will open up a new world of opportunity, allowing them to read, write, groom themselves, and even see their loved ones’ faces clearly.
Our Low Vision Program is expanding across the U.S., and has provided services for over 3,000 individuals in 15 states (AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, IL, LA, MS, NC, OH, SC, TN, and TX). SSA has successfully eliminated the backlog of children with low vision needs in all of Alabama, Mississippi, and the panhandle of Florida, 50% of Texas (including 100% of the San Antonio and Texas Hill Country areas), as well as over 75% of Louisiana, Atlanta, Memphis, and significant portions of several other states.
Once the original backlog is eradicated within a city/community, the program’s maintenance phase—for children who may age into the program, move into the area, or develop new eye problems—serves a smaller amount of children newly identified each year (approximately 10% of the original need). When the children’s maintenance phase begins, we also assess any other vision needs in the area that may be met by SSA’s programs, such as providing vision aids for adults with low vision.
Low Vision Program Locations
HOW TO REFER A CHILD:
Schools, parents, doctors, relatives, friends and other children’s advocates may refer children to the SSA Low Vision Program for low vision evaluations and prescribed assistive technology. We also provide these services for adults in select areas.
Sight Savers America is actively seeking funding for expansion of these low vision services. We welcome all partnerships and sponsorship opportunities. If we currently do not have a program in your area, and you are an eye care professional, have a contact in the eye care community who may be interested in partnering with us, or you know of a foundation we may approach for possible funding, please contact Michelle Ashman, email@example.com, (877)942-2627, ext. 238.