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Posted July 7, 2006

Ask An Expert

Care Resources: Quick Help Needed for Vision Loss

Q. What can I do? I am going blind. I have no side vision in either eye, and now I can’t drive. I have very bad tunnel vision, with 25% sight in my right eye and 30% in left eye. My eyes hurt to be on this computer and online in general. My doctor said I don’t need a seeing-eye dog, but I know I need something. I live alone in spring and summer. My mom is here in fall and winter, but she’s 74 -- and I should be looking after her. Please help. Thanks.

Gloria T., Dade City, Florida.

A. You are correct -- you do need help and must go to a vision rehabilitation center to do that. In such an organization you will be seen by a low vision optometrist or ophthalmologist who will assess you vision, prescribe appropriate devices and refer you to an occupational therapist, who can help you use your remaining vision to its fullest potential.

Lighthouse International in New York City is such an agency, but we have a website called that will help you. Go to that site and at the bottom of the page click "help." This will take you to a page called "Help Near You." Enter your city name and state and the mile radius you are willing to consider for travel. You will be given a list of organizations near you to call and make an appointment to be seen.

Early diagnosis and treatment is key to eye disease, so I urge you to act quickly.

This answer has been provided by Dr. Tara A. Cortes, PhD, RN, CNAA, the President and CEO of Lighthouse International, a leading resource worldwide in overcoming the challenges of vision loss. She is the former Senior Vice President for Patient Care Operations and Chief Nursing Officer at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Clinical Professor at Yale University in the School of Nursing doctoral program. Dr. Cortes is a published author and consultant in the areas of geriatric care and nursing administration and leadership. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Villanova University , one of her alma maters. She can be reached at



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