Briefing will Examine Public Policy Implications for an Aging American Population

NEW YORK, June 15, 2010 --- Lighthouse International, a leading non-profit organization fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment, is sponsoring a congressional briefing for Members of Congress and their staff on “Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation - A Growing Need” on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. in Room B-340 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. Joining Lighthouse International as co-sponsors of the event are the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, American Foundation for the Blind, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, Envision, Prevent Blindness America and the Vision Serve Alliance.

The briefing will feature Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International and Dr. Michael Fischer.According to Mr. Ackermann, “There is a vision loss epidemic in the United States. Sixty-one million Americans are at high-risk of serious vision loss and, as baby boomers age and diseases such as diabetes affect growing numbers, the policy implications for healthcare, services and rehabilitation will be enormous.”

Dr. Michael Fischer, who is a longtime low vision clinician at Lighthouse International, is also Chief of Optometry Service at Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center providing care to veterans in Northport’s Low Vision clinic and VICTORS program (Visual Impairment Center to Optimize Remaining Sight), and training optometric residents in low vision.  Dr. Fischer will discuss the importance of low vision and vision rehabilitation services and the projected gap in services caused by the aging population.

Vision impairment is the cause of 18% of hip fractures among older Americans, which accounts for an estimated $2.3 billion in medical costs each year. Low vision and vision rehabilitation services increase the independence and safety of people with visual impairments, improve quality of life, and prevent injuries that can result from loss of vision.

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