That’s my job

Posted April 6, 2011 by Mandy Smith in

I met with someone who was recently diagnosed with the eye condition, Age-Related Macular Degeneration.  I asked her if it was the wet or dry type.  She responded, “I don’t know.”  I explained to her that with wet macular degeneration, the macula on the back wall of your eye swells up and causes your acute, detailed vision (what you use to read) to become blurry.  It also allows new blood vessels to grow that are weak and leak blood into the center of the eye.  Dry macular degeneration does not have the blood vessels that grow.  She replied, “Well, he (her eye doctor) didn’t say.”

If a doctor comes in and says you have a certain eye disease, but doesn’t explain how it affects or will affect your vision, that can be scary. Orientation and Mobility Specialists can explain an eye condition in terms that regular people (not doctors) understand and also how it could affect your vision.

Orientation and Mobility Specialists can also help you learn what equipment is out there that could help you use what remaining vision you have.  There are thousands of magnifiers and other assistive technology equipment and software out there that could help a person.  But only if they know about it.

Orientation and Mobility Specialists also teach individuals with vision loss techniques that enable them to travel safely, efficently and independently.

I was told the other day that I know enough about eye diseases that I should become an eye doctor.  That isn’t true.  I know enough about eye diseases to turn large words I can’t pronounce into smaller words that make sense to the average person.  That’s my job.

Mandy Smith

Mandy has worked at RCIL since June of 2009. She is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and provides services in 32 counties to individuals who are blind or have low vision and are 55 years and older.

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