October 14, 2010: Today is World Sight Day!

Lighthouse International Supports Vision 2020, a global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness.

World Sight Day logo

October 14 is World Sight Day 2010, an international day of awareness held annually in order to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. World Sight Day, which is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), is a part of the Vision 2020 global initiative. Vision 2020: the Right to Sight was launched in 1999 by IAPB and the World Health Organization (WHO) with a mission to eliminate avoidable blindness. Vision 2020 now includes nearly every international eye care NGO, as well as global professional bodies for ophthalmology and optometry and the World Blind Union.

Globally, 85 percent of visual impairment is avoidable. Yet, 45 million people remain blind and a staggering four percent of people worldwide live with visual impairment. The solutions to most causes of blindness are known and cost-effective, requiring only political will and modest but sustained investment.

Vision 2020 provides a powerful platform to advocate for actions required in the next ten years, including:

  • Governments must mobilize political will and resources to support Vision 2020 in their own countries and in developing countries around the world.
  • Development agencies must move to support this highly effective and positive agenda, taking advantage of the united strength of private and non-profit sector organizations.
  • The professions must play their part in working together to bring sustainable, integrated eye care services to all.

"The simple fact is that avoidable blindness can be eliminated, and that is at the heart of Vision 2020’s mission," said Peter Ackland, Chief Executive Office for IAPB. "The joint initiative of IAPB and WHO has made huge progress since its launch, and this advocacy event is at stake in the ground to deliver on our collective commitments by 2020.” For more information on Vision 2020, visit www.IAPB.org.

October 1, 2010: President Obama Promotes National Disability Employment Awareness Month

U.S. President Barack Obama proclaims October 2010 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month

On October 1, 2010, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, proclaimed October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. “As Americans, we understand employment and economic security are critical to fulfilling our hopes and aspirations,” said Obama in a press release. “No individual in our Nation should face unnecessary barriers to success, and no American with a disability should be limited in his or her desire to work. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we renew our focus on improving employment opportunities and career pathways that lead to good jobs and sound economic futures for people with disabilities.”

The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring people with disabilities have fair access to jobs. In July of 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order to increase Federal employment of individuals with disabilities. The directive requires Federal agencies to design model recruitment and hiring strategies for people with disabilities.

Lighthouse International is also leading the charge to educate companies on the positive impact of hiring disabled employees through a new book, “Perfectly Able: How to Attract and Hire Talented People with Disabilities.” Written by former Lighthouse International contributor, Jim Hasse, “Perfectly Able” teaches companies about the benefits of hiring disabled employees.

Lighthouse International is proud to do its small part in conjunction with the Obama Administration in helping anyone with a disability find and retain employment. If you or someone you know is disabled and needs help finding employment, please contact Lighthouse International’s Career Services Department. For more information on “Perfectly Able,” please read our press release.

Lighthouse International honored New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the Henry A. Grunwald Award for Public Service Luncheon

On September 29, 2010, Lighthouse International honored New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the Henry A. Grunwald Award for Public Service Luncheon. The Henry A. Grunwald Award for Public Service, inaugurated in 2001 by Lighthouse International, recognizes individuals who are committed to advancing causes that benefit society overall and ― of particular significance for the Lighthouse ― to advancing public awareness of vision impairment and vision rehabilitation.

Lighthouse International was proud to host Mayor Bloomberg and celebrate all his contributions to helping those with disabilities such as low vision and blindness.

The co-chairs of the ceremony, which took place at The Metropolitan Club in New York City, were Alice and Tom Tisch, and Candace and Jonathan Wainwright. The vice chairs included Mary and David Boies, John Daley, Joan Ganz Cooney and Pete Peterson, David Geffen, Arthur Loeb, Steve Rattner and Maureen White, Ambassador Felix and Elizabeth Rohatyn.

The Henry A. Grunwald Award for Public Service is named after the late Mr. Grunwald, a former member of the Lighthouse Board of Directors, U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc., and noted author of the book, “Twilight: Losing Sight, Gaining Insight.”

To read more on the 2010 Henry A. Grunwald Award for Public Service Luncheon, visit the New York Social Diary.

AMD Week 2010 unites organizations around the world to raise awareness of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which affects more than 10 million older Americans, continues to be the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. The global cost of the disease according to a recent report by AMD Alliance International (AMDAI) is estimated at $343 billion, underscoring the need for swift actions to raise awareness of prevention and treatment options. The National Institutes of Health projects the number of AMD diagnoses to double to 20 million by 2010.

During this year’s AMD Week, which runs from September 18-26, Lighthouse International, along with AMDAI and leading vision care organizations from 25 countries, has issued a call to action to doctors, patients and caregivers through the public awareness campaign “Don’t Surrender to AMD.”

Losing vision has devastating consequences to an individual’s daily life and those affected by the disease often suffer from severe depression and loss of independence. However, those at-risk and AMD patients can take steps to reduce needless sight loss. AMD can be prevented or slowed down if a person takes action to keep his or her vision healthy. Along with regular eye exams, the first step is a healthy lifestyle. For more information on treatment options, visit Lighthouse International’s AMD page.

Lighthouse International’s Dr. Rosenthal Featured on ICAA TV

Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International, discusses vision loss and the complications that can arise as a result of old age in a video interview with Marilynn Larkin of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA).

Watch the full interview by clicking here.

Lighthouse Launches New Online Store

Lighthouse International is proud to announce the launch of the new and improved Lighthouse store. The store features one of the largest selections of low vision products, including glare-free lighting, household items, magnifying mirrors, watches, clocks, computer software and CCTVs.

Proceeds from the store benefit Lighthouse International’s non-profit mission to fight vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. “Our online store is another step in the strategic development and marketing of our redesigned website,” says Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International.

Read the Full Story

Nigerian Optometrists Visit Lighthouse International to Observe Clinical Procedures

May 2010 - Three Nigerian optometrists recently concluded a two-week visit to Lighthouse International to observe clinical procedures relating to the latest treatments in low vision and vision rehabilitation.

Leading the delegation was Dr. Ikechukwu Nwakuche, Chief Executive Officer of the Joy Eye Care Low Vision Resource Centre in Nigeria. Joining him were colleagues Professor Eleazar Uchenna Ikonne and Associate Professor Bridget Ebele Uzodike. In September 2009, Dr. Nwakuche, who began studying advanced courses at Lighthouse International in 2003 and remained in close contact since then, helped open the Joy Eye Care Low Vision Resource Centre, modeling it after the holistic care and treatment offered at the Lighthouse. “Lighthouse International's model of comprehensive care from birth to old age is the inspiration for [our] centre,” says Dr. Nwakuche. The Centre offers many of the same programs as Lighthouse, from early intervention and pre-school to youth programs, vision rehabilitation, professional education and advocacy.

Read the Full Story

Lighthouse International Introduces a New, Customizable, Low Vision Simulator That Shows How the World Looks to People Who Are Visually Impaired

March 2, 2010 – Lighthouse International, the non-profit leader in vision healthcare, research, education and advocacy, launches a new website that features the first customizable, low vision simulator that shows how a person with an eye disease sees the world. Visitors can choose a video from YouTube and select a filter that simulates macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, hemianopia and retinitis pigmentosa.

Read full press release

Lighthouse International Launches New Program In Harlem And East Harlem To Increase Access To Vision Care For Seniors

NEW YORK, February 11, 2010 – Recognizing that East Harlem and Harlem residents have a very high rate of diabetes but few eyecare facilities in their neighborhoods, Lighthouse International, a leading vision healthcare non-profit serving New Yorkers for more than 100 years, has launched a two-year pilot program called East Harlem: Early Action Saves Sight (EHEASS). The program offers vision education and services to residents 55 years and older who have vision health needs.

Read full press release

Lighthouse International Acquires National Association for Visually Handicapped (NAVH)

February 1, 2010…The Boards of Lighthouse International and National Association for Visually Handicapped (NAVH) are pleased to announce that Lighthouse International acquired NAVH on January 29, 2010.

Both organizations have a shared mission and a long history of helping New Yorkers who are visually impaired through a wide range of programs from low vision services to assistive devices to support groups. Lighthouse will continue this tradition of service and create a new program named in honor of NAVH founder and CEO Emeritus Lorraine Marchi L.H.D. Read the full press release.

WCBS 2's Health Watch: Electronics and Your Eyes

January 7th, 2010: It is estimated that at least 47 million Americans are nearsighted. Health Watch's Dr. Max Gomez speaks with Lighthouse International's Chief of Low Vision Programs, Dr. Bruce Rosenthal about what’s behind our worsening eyes. Watch the clip and learn more.

Focus on Low Vision: Healthcare Reform and Vision Rehabilitation

January 2010 – With healthcare reform on the horizon, several coalitions are working to make sure vision impairment and its rehabilitation be recognized. Dr. Cynthia Stuen, Senior Vice President, Policy, Evaluation, and Education examines these efforts. Read Dr.Stuen's full article.

Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International led a Lighthouse delegation to the NYSE

Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International rang the closing bell of the NY Stock Exchange on October 22, 2009 in recognition of World Sight Day which was celebrated earlier this month. World Sight Day is an annual international event to create awareness about the 314 million people worldwide who are visually impaired and the importance of preventing vision loss.

New York Times: "Burst of Technology Helps Blind to See"

On Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, a front-page article in the New York Times highlighted a new technology called Second Sight, which is an artificial retina implanted in the eye in an effort to restore some sight to individuals who are visually impaired and blind. The main focus of the article was on Barbara Campbell, a New York City resident, whose training with the device is being overseen by Dr. Aries Arditi, Senior Fellow in Vision Science at Lighthouse International's Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute. Both Ms. Campbell and Dr. Arditi (who is the lead investigator on the project) are quoted often in the article and accompanying video, which you can access here: "Burst of Technology Helps Blind to See". Read more about Second Sight.

Lighthouse International and AMD Alliance International Host "Portraits of Macular Degeneration"

To mark the global celebration of AMD Week (September 21-28), Lighthouse International, and AMD Alliance International, two leading non-profit vision healthcare organizations, hosted an exhibit of the works of Adam Hahn, a renowned London-based portrait artist whose paintings illustrate how patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) see the world. The exhibit of 17 portraits opened September 17, 2009 at Lighthouse International's headquarters in New York City and is a call to action for people with the disease to be pro-active in seeking the help they need. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50 in the western world and affects more than 9 million Americans.

BrainPort: Seeing Through Impulses on Your Tongue

If individuals who are the blind can read language using their hands, then they should be able to understand images drawn on their tongues.

That sensory substitution concept is the driving force behind BrainPort®, an experimental device being developed to help individuals who are blind see the world around them. BrainPort® uses a small camera with a zoom lens that is hooked to a pair of sunglasses and then that image is translated into small electrical impulses on your tongue through a small array of stamped-size sensors. That initial sensory data on your tongue goes to your brain, which can learn to process and interpret them as images. While BrainPort® does not replace the sense of sight, it adds to other sensory experiences to give users information about the size, shape and location of objects.

Produced by Wicab, a biomedical engineering company based in Wisconsin, Brainport is still in a prototype and has not yet been submitted to the FDA for clearance or approval. But Dr. William Seiple, Vice President of Research and Director of Lighthouse International's Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute, believes the device has the potential to help people with visual impairments achieve safer, more effective mobility.

Dr. Seiple has been asked by Wicab to test the efficacy of the prototype for use in everyday life. This study which, will involve 10 patients over a three-month period, will take place at Lighthouse International.

According to Erik Weihenmayer, a mountain climber who has tackled the highest mountain peaks on each of the world's continents, who also happens to be blind, the device has helped him start learning to climb like a sighted person.

"I thought it was cool how quickly my brain caught on to what I was feeling with my tongue," he told the NIH Record. Read the full article here: http://nihrecord.od.nih.gov/

Learn more about BrainPort

Lighthouse at the Met Concert, "At Home in America", a Resounding Success

Over 400 visitors filled The Temple of Dendur in The Metroplitan Museum of Art on Friday night, April 17th for the Thirteenth Annual Lighthouse at the Met Concert. The museum's president, Emily Rafferty, welcomed guests and offered opening remarks, along with Dr. Tara Cortes, President and CEO of Lighthouse International. Dr. Leslie Jones, Executive Director of The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School, introduced the musical portion of the evening.

This year's theme was "At Home in America," in celebration of the museum's new American Period Rooms that will be re-opening in May. Featuring the acclaimed Lighthouse Vocal Ensemble and a host of talented instrumental and vocal soloists, the performance showcased a broad spectrum of music representing Colonial America to the Jazz Age. The eclectic musical program included a contemporary choral arrangement of Home, Sweet Home; "The President's March" -- the original National Anthem; a Scarlatti piano sonata; two Italian art songs; Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You"; and a crowd-pleasing "Sing, Sing, Sing." To provide access to the visual art, each musical work was accompanied by a digital display and verbal description of the selected American period rooms and representative decorative arts.

American Idol Finalist, Scott McIntyre, Visits Lighthouse International

Scott McIntyre, a very popular finalist on the hit TV show American Idol, who is legally blind, stopped by during his visit to New York City to hear the musicians of the Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School rehearse for their upcoming concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Greeted enthusiastically by the musicians and many fans who work and volunteer at Ligthhouse International Scott said, "This is a very special visit for me. I come from the same place these musicians do. There hasn't been a visually impaired pop singer in this country in a long time and I am doing my best to fill that gap."

The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School is the largest community music school in the country teaching children and adults who are visually impaired.

Lighthouse International Receives Million Dollar Donation in Honor of Long-Time Staff Member

Lighthouse International recently received a $1,000,000 check from a donor advised fund based in California. The check was from an anonymous donor and targeted for the general operating fund. And -- the gift was made in honor of Rosie Lopez, a member of the staff at Lighthouse International for nearly 15 years! Rosie is the Coordinator of the Reading and Recording Services, but she can be seen helping at the reception desk welcoming our visitors, in the Lighthouse Store helping people select appropriate devices to assist their vision function, and in the computer lab helping people to use assistive technology. In the elevators and in the halls she is always friendly and helpful.

At a breakfast in her honor on March 12th, 2009 Rosie was presented with a citation and plaque which will be used to name one of the reading rooms at the Lighthouse in recognition of her service to Lighthouse clients. Over one hundred staff, volunteers and Board members attended the breakfast in honor of Rosie.

In her remarks Dr. Tara Cortes, President and CEO of Lighthouse International praised Rosie's dedication and commitment to all of our clients. "All staff and volunteers at Lighthouse International have the opportunity to do fundraising," she said. "You never know who amongst the thousands of people who enter our doors each year will be inclined to make a gift to help support our programs and the important work we do."



Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   Watch us on Youtube   Email   Visit our Flickr