When a new patient makes an appointment, we encourage them to take advantage of our comprehensive program. This program includes a meeting with an optometrist, occupational therapist and an access technology specialist – all who have special training in working with people with vision loss. Patients that make the commitment to complete the program leave with new tools in their toolbox and the knowledge to manage changes in their vision. But more importantly, they have confidence to achieve their goals.
We saw Greg this year and he made the commitment to complete our comprehensive program.
Initially, Greg had a blood pressure issue in the optic nerve of his left eye. This impacted his vision in his left eye, but his right eye was still fine and he was able to adapt. Then in February he had the same issue with his right eye. Leaving him with his “bad” left eye being the better of the two.
He was a postal worker and was 18 months from retirement. He had hoped to make it to retirement, but this change in his vision put him in a position where he could no longer continue. “The light hurt my eyes and it was hard to focus on anything. I had to retire,” said Greg.
When Greg made his appointments he though it was going to be a waste of time. “I really wondered what they were going to do for me.” It was a big commitment of time and effort to go to the all appointments because Greg does not live close to Spectrios nor is he able to drive.
But, despite his misgivings, he made the decision to give it a try. “Dr. Park amazed me. The things she was able to get out of my eyes surprised me,” says Greg, “remember I didn’t really think anyone could do anything for me.” Dr. Park helped Greg to use the vision he has by encouraging him to look at the chart in a different way. By looking up or using his peripheral vision to find the spots where he could see and was able to read more than he believed he could. “Now when I cannot see something I have to stop and try and look at it a different way.”
Then Greg spent time with our occupational therapist, Katrina. Katrina helped Greg to look for other ways to do things. “This is such a simple thing, and it is sort of funny,” Greg told us, “I was having issues putting toothpaste on my toothbrush. Katrina suggested to just put it in my mouth. It was not anything I did not already know, it was just something I had not considered.” Greg has adopted the approach of thinking about something that is hard to do and trying to come up with other ways to do the same thing.
Finally, Greg spent some time in with our Access Technology team. He was able to optimize his phone to be an access technology device. “These tips were things that anyone can use, it was great advice and training.” Additionally, he was shown other tools and devices that he can use. “I have a desktop magnifier I can use. I know there are other tools available, but I am not ready to start using those yet. But, I know when I am Spectrios is there and I can get the help I need to move forward.”
We encourage patients to make annual appointments with us. Every time a patient comes to see us they leave with a new tool or learn a new way to approach their vision loss. “Right now my vision is still changing. I am waiting for things to settle down and then I am going to figure out my next opportunity. I know that Spectrios will help me figure out how to achieve that goal.”
We are so appreciative of Greg’s willingness to stop and look at things differently. He is making the best use of the vision he has and is willing to try to do things differently. Our ability to help people like Greg is based entirely on the generosity of donors like you. All donations no matter how big or small have an impact.