Councilman Jimmy Vacca organized an information session and breakfast at the Fort Schuyler home on April 17 with Lighthouse International, an organization that serves the needs of the blind and visually impaired.
“This is personal for me,” Vacca said. “ I know firsthand the challenges faced by people with vision impairments.”
As the councilman’s father suffered from sight loss for decades before his death, he hopes to spread the useful information Lighthouse can provide to Bronxites.
Representatives from five senior organizations came out to the breakfast catered by the Crosstown Diner.
Leslie Gottlieb, Director of Communications at Lighthouse International, was proud to partner with Vacca, the city council’s chair on senior centers.
“We are thrilled to have Councilman Vacca’s support and assistance,” she said. “He’s a champion for people, for seniors and eyesight care.”
The not-for-profit offers an array of comprehensive services for all age groups with visual impairments. Their services include low-vision eye examinations, mobility training, rehabilitation services, computer training and emotional support to those facing vision loss.
Lighthouse International also strives to help senior citizens preserve self-sufficiency and independence as their sight begins to fade.
Marcia Lorand, president of the residents association at Fort Schuyler House, said she found the session extremely informative.
“Most of us, when we think of Lighthouse, we think of blind people,” Lorand said. “It was very informative to learn about the programs Lighthouse has for people with sight problems who aren’t blind.”
The presentation highlighted the workings of the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that reimburse professionals who offer their expertise to people with vision loss.
The informational breakfast outlined program participant eligibility, particularly Medicare beneficiaries who have a diagnosis of moderate to severe vision impairment that cannot be corrected with medication or surgery.
While applicants don’t have to be legally blind to participate, they must receive a referral from their ophthalmologist or optometrist.
Each doctor must practice and live in one of the five boroughs.
All services are provided by certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists/Occupational Therapists, certified Orientation and Mobility specialists and certified Low Vision Therapists.
For more information about Lighthouse, call (800) 829-0500 or visit them online at www.lighthouse.org.
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