The groundbreaking program, funded by The Olayan Group, will help meet the growing need for low vision specialists in the Arab world.

February 23, 2011…Lighthouse International, a nonprofit pioneer in the field of low vision rehabilitation, professional education and research, and the Ebsar Foundation, a leading source for clinical care and professional training in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), are pleased to announce the Lighthouse Mult-E-Skills Vision Rehabilitation Training Program©. This program is designed to help health care professionals such as nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, opticians and teachers of the visually impaired work more effectively with adults who have low vision or no vision. It is made possible by a two-year grant from The Olayan Group.

The program will be officially announced and presented at the 10th International Conference on Low Vision in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 24, 2011.

According to Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International, “The need for training programs is critical. Millions of people in the Gulf region suffer disproportionately from such serious eye conditions as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, trachoma, cataracts, corneal diseases, and diabetic retinopathy. This course will be especially useful, since these conditions often respond to low vision care and/or vision rehabilitation."

The eight-lesson Web-based program, available both in English and Arabic, has been carefully developed to meet the needs of the region and reviewed by professionals such as nurses, occupational therapists, teachers, and orientation and mobility specialists in the United States and Saudi Arabia. Topics include:

  • *The Practice and Theory of Vision Rehabilitation
  • Vision Loss and Its Impact on Function
  • Low Vision Optical Devices
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Indoor Orientation and Mobility

The program is delivered on a platform that was carefully chosen to be fully accessible to professionals who may be visually impaired, as well as those who are sighted. For example, it uses text alternatives for all visual elements and keyboard access to all program elements. The program is to be offered on a fee basis and can be taken in its entirety or as four separate courses. The course offers many benefits such as allowing people to learn at their own pace and on their own schedules.

For more information, visit Lighthouse International at or the Ebsar Foundation at

A Successful Partnership

According to Mohammed Towfik Bellow, General Manager of the Ebsar Foundation: “For the past nine years Lighthouse and the Ebsar Foundation have had a fruitful and productive partnership. Until now, it has been impossible for those who would like to develop skills in the specialized area of vision rehabilitation to find appropriate training without leaving the region entirely, an option that is out of the question for many. The Lighthouse Mult-E-Skills Vision Rehabilitation Training Program© will insure that current and future health care professionals have the knowledge and skills to enhance safety and independence for people with vision loss. I am pleased that the program also supports the goals of Vision 2020, The Right to Sight, by increasing awareness and creating capacity to address vision impairment across a broad spectrum of the health care system."

Ebsar Foundation

The Ebsar Foundation has been recognized by the Saudi Ophthalmological Society, the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the International Council for Education of the Visually Impaired as an important clinical resource in the region and the source for educational programs about low vision for professionals. For more information about vision impairment services and resources in the region contact

Lighthouse International

For over 35 years, the Lighthouse’s educational courses for professionals have strengthened the quality and availability of vision rehabilitation services nationally and internationally. Lighthouse International has also spearheaded other successful online initiatives.

Founded in 1905, Lighthouse International is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. It achieves this through clinical and rehabilitation services, professional education, research and advocacy. For more information about vision loss and its causes, contact Lighthouse International at 1-800-829-0500 or visit




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