When you get the news that you have vision loss, it is a blow.  What will you do now?  Many patients learn they are going to lose their vision and are left with no plan forward.  Spectrios steps in when your eye doctor tells you there is nothing left to be done.  We help patients create a plan to move forward, and for the over 1,300 people we see each year that is welcome information.

Unfortunately, not all people impacted by vision loss have easy access to the services provided by Spectrios.  Nancy is one of those people.  With a diagnosis of macular degeneration, she has been managing well for several years.  Then things progressed to the point where she needed a little more support.  She tried reaching out to the local clinics and found that there was no one locally that could help her.   “It was frustrating to find that my disease wasn’t far enough along to qualify for services that were in my area,” Nancy shared with us.  “When I found out, I wanted to say well, life is done.  But I have many more years ahead of me.  I needed to find solutions.”

As part of a low vision support group in her area, she had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Dr. Williams.  Encouraged by the leader of her group, Dan Roberts, she decided to make the trip from Kansas City to Wheaton to see the team at Spectrios.  “I am so glad I made the effort to take advantage of the services offered by Spectrios.  It was exhausting, but I left feeling encouraged knowing I have a team that can help me navigate the future.  It gives me so much confidence.”

Nancy spent two full days with the team at Spectrios.  She left with a lot of new information and some new tools in her toolbox.  “There isn’t just one tool that solves all the problems.  Dr. Williams explained to me that I need a toolbox of devices to help in a variety of situations.”  Nancy is correct.  We recommend building a toolbox of accessibility aides and information over time.  Add a little bit here and there and before you know it you will be well equipped for every situation.

Nancy’s Toolbox

Binoculars – This tool has been helpful in allowing Nancy to watch her grandchildren play sports.  She has enjoyed being able to see their faces when they play.  She also enjoys being able to look at the lake behind her home and spot wildlife in the trees.

Handheld Magnifier – Nancy likes that it is lighted and uses it to read labels in the grocery store.  It is something she has with her all the time.

Desktop Magnifier – This was in Nancy’s toolbox prior to her visit and is an aid she uses to read.  While she is adapting to audio books she still enjoys printed text.

Smartphone/Tablet Training – “The team at Spectrios was so patient in teaching me how to use my phone as an accessibility device.”  We improved the magnification on the phone so it is easier to use and introduced her to some apps.  (Check out our article on a smartphone app starter pack on our website.)

Training on how to use eccentric visionShe is practicing using her peripheral vision.

Luna S by Zoomax – Nancy has not used her Luna S as much as she thought.  It is there for when she needs a little bit more magnification than her phone and handheld magnifier can provide.

“I know that when I have a question or need a little extra help I can give Spectrios a call and they will help me out.  When I am ready to use my Luna S more, I plan to set up an appointment with Chris to go over it one more time,” said Nancy.  And she doesn’t even have to come into the office to get help from Chris.  We can provide online technical training.

“Forge ahead and go see Spectrios,” is Nancy’s advice for anyone who has recently learned that they have vision loss.  “Everyone at Spectrios is so patient and kind.  They all truly believe that you can do it.  Also read No Barriers by Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy.”

Nancy is lucky that she has the resources available to her to be able to come and see us from so far away, but not everyone does.  We need your support to be able to continue to offer hope to people with vision loss.