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The Low Vision Interest Group

lowvisThe Low Vision Interest Group of South Africa have created a Face Book Page and have 187 members. A Low Vision Conference has been scheduled – details under the Events Section.

This is a note posted on the page by Belinda Leibowitz.

For years we have had a dream to really expand Low Vision. Thirty-one years ago I met Hazel Sacharowitz at my first ever workshop on low vision. She gave me some tips and a Feinbloom chart and I started taking my patients to RAU ( as University of Johannesburg was then known) department of Optometry. I realized very quickly that the average Optometrist didn’t understand or practise low vision and patients were told there was nothing further that could be done. In 1991 the rehab centre where I was working was closed down and I started working with Hazel once a week at the Low Vision Clinic. We had a steel cabinet with a handful of devices. Next we were given a Low Vision room and we started expanding our range of devices. We now had a few students that were bitten by the Low Vision bug. Low Vision is a labour intensive, emotional assessment, but absolutely nothing beats that moment when the patient realises that there REALLY IS LIFE AFTER VISUAL IMPAIRMENT. For thirty-one years we have held the hands of many patients and walked beside them as they often grew from young children to men and women who are now in their 40s.

Over the years we have met amazing people who have willingly shared their knowledge.
Those of you who have joined the group whether you are optometrists, occupational therapists, nurses or social workers, have embarked on a wonderful journey. We have all become caring professions to make a difference. Low Vision is a dynamic exciting field , it tugs at your heart, but what a feeling . Once people realize the scope it becomes amazing. We look forward to seeing the excitement in all the people just joining this journey.

The best way forward is to become part of a multidisciplinary approach.

Belinda Leibowitz
Occupational Therapist
Special Interest Low Vision