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Expo Offers Low-Vision Patients A Look At Emerging Technology

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Flickr user Nina'H

An estimated 3.5 million Americans suffer from low vision, but Saturday’s Low Vision Expo offers new information and technologies that can help people who have given up their favorite hobbies or activities.

Dr. Sandra Fox, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the UT Health Science Center, said a low-vision therapist can help patients find the right tools, lighting and working distance to see better for the hobbies or tasks they want to perform.

She said cataract patients often do better with amber or pink-colored sunglasses than the dark gray ones recommended in the past. Low vision therapists often train people to use their eyes in a different way.

"In the case of macular degeneration, a patient can have a blind spot right in the center of their vision. So if they’re trying to look at a person’s face, they’re not going to see any of the features. So we do something called Eccentric Viewing Training, where the occupational therapist teaches them how to move their eyes in a certain position to move that blind spot out of way," she said.

The Low Vision Expo features vendors with helpful products plus presentations by low-vision experts from the Region 20 Education Service Center, the Lighthouse for the Blind and the Low Vision Resource Center.

The event opens at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Colonial Hills Methodist Church.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.