In May of 2018, Teresa had surgery for a detached retina. Due to complications, she has had three additional surgeries and has vision loss.
At the time, Teresa was working as a full-time Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her position required her to read hundreds of pages of papers written by her nursing students. She would magnify her computer screen and use a hand-held magnifier, reading one word at a time. “After a few hours I would be exhausted from the eye strain and holding the magnifier.”
Initially, her doctors told her to wait and see where her vision ended up before she started to get help managing her new situation. Eventually she did reach out to Spectrios Institute, and is so glad she did. Teresa’s advice to others would be to go as soon as possible. Had she known what was available she might have been able to continue working longer.
During her visit with Dr. Irvine, Teresa learned that her peripheral vision was good enough that she could qualify for daytime driving. After being told that she would never drive or read again, this was welcome news. Teresa will be working with our driving partner at MarianJoy.
Katrina, our Occupational Therapist, helped Teresa with strategies around the house, focusing on task lighting. Lighting plays such an important role in our ability to read, work on projects, and many other activities of daily living. Katrina also activated the accessibility settings on her phone, and now it is much easier to use.
Developing a variety of magnification strategies has been an important part of Teresa’s plan. She has a Humanware Explore® 5 – a hand-held electronic magnifier. She also uses a lighted magnifier that hangs on her neck for trips to the store. “I don’t have to ask my husband to read me the prices anymore!” It is great because she doesn’t have to dig through her purse to find her hand-held model.
She is looking forward to the delivery of her new CCTV, which will enable her to read again. The tray allows you to move the page without refocusing. The smaller handheld magnifiers have to refocus every time you move them, so this will be a huge improvement and allow for greater ease in reading large amounts of text, like one might find in students’ papers.
Teresa exemplifies the spirit of never say never and we are so happy to have been able to help her.