Service Helps Visually Impaired - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Service Helps Visually Impaired

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Whether it genetics or just old age, for some, vision loss is inevitable.

A local woman suffers from an eye condition called macular degeneration, but a service has found some ways to make daily life a little more manageable. Vision specialists say when someone suffers from macular degeneration, they lose sight in the central part of the eye.

"I know you've got a face, but I can't see it clearly," says Terry Nelson.

So unfortunately, many people who suffer from the condition only see well out of their peripherals.

"Over the years, I've had people tell me they could see a quarter laying on the floor. When they turn to go and pick it up, it's gone. Because that's when they're using the central vision to try and really focus on what they're looking at," says Mike Beck a vision rehabilitation specialist.

Vision loss can be a dangerous thing, especially for those, like Nelson, who is almost 102 years old.

"It's very frustrating sometimes, but that's the way it goes," says Nelson.

Thanks to something called vision rehabilitation therapy, a service that provides equipment, and training to help people stay independent, Terry can still do things like cook for herself.

"He's marked it for 350 so that I can do that. I can bake, and I know if I turn it way far I'll be able to broil," says Nelson.

Terry says she still does enjoy spending time in the kitchen, but reading recipe cards can be a struggle.

"We directed her to getting something called a CCTV, where she places recipe cards and personal mail under a camera and it's projected on a screen," says Beck.

And when the days get boring, Terry says devices like this one make time fly by.

"This thing is called a talking book. The state library sends them to me. They didn't cost me anything. The post office brings them to me, the post office takes it back," says Nelson. "I'm really very lucky. Look at all the things that have made it possible for me to live as an independent person."

So, it's pretty clear to see that vision rehab therapy not only allows people to stay in their own homes longer, those who use the service say it makes their stay a lot more enjoyable.

For more information on rehabilitation services, contact Vision Services and Independent Living Program Administrator, Helen Baumgartner at 701-328-8950.

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