AFB Senior Site Press Release Archive
American Foundation for the Blind Launches Web Site to Help People with Vision Loss Maintain Independence
AFB Survey: Americans Fear Impact of Vision Loss More Than Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Heart Disease, and Stroke
NEW YORK, April 3, 2007—To help families, caregivers and people directly affected by vision loss, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) launched a new, totally accessible, multimedia web site today that offers instructional videos, easy to implement tips and testimonials to help this country's growing low vision population maintain independence. AFB's launch of AFB Senior Site comes amid concerns from health officials that diseases like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy are expected to double as the nation's 78 million baby boomers reach retirement age and beyond.
In conjunction with the launch of AFB Senior Site, AFB released the results of a national opinion poll that details people's fears about vision loss:
- Losing one's sight and paralysis top the list of the public's health fears that were tested. Most feared are losing one's sight (21%) and paralysis (21%), followed by HIV/AIDS (16%), cancer (14%), stroke (11%), heart attacks/disease (6%), and diabetes (4%). The last 4% don't know.
- Americans say their biggest concerns about low vision are losing the ability to live independently (75%) and read (68%).
- After physicians (56%), Americans would turn to web sites (29%) and organizations for the blind (20%) for information on blindness and severe vision loss.
"Over the next few decades, rates of age-related vision loss in this country are expected to double as our country's population ages. Given how much fear people have concerning the impact of vision loss, AFB hopes our new web site will enlighten Americans about ways they or a loved one can adapt successfully to low vision or vision loss and maintain a full, rewarding, and independent life," said AFB President & CEO Carl R. Augusto.
Currently, 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 have severe vision loss. While some are adapting successfully there are many others who don't know where to turn for help, or even if such help exists. AFB's web site is meant to address this knowledge gap.
Visitors to the AFB Senior Site will find instructional videos and articles describing independent living solutions geared specifically to people with age-related vision loss. The web site also connects seniors and their families to important resources in their own communities, such as vision loss specialists who can recommend solutions and instruct older adults with vision loss.
"There are many services and devices available today that help seniors reduce the impact of a visual impairment. The new AFB Senior Site encourages visually impaired seniors to find the help and support that they need to live independently," said Randy Jose, O.D., FAAO, of the American Academy of Optometry.
In AFB's survey of 1,000 adults, 75% said loss of independence would be their top concern if they ever lost their eyesight, followed by inability to read, identify medications and drive. The poll was conducted in January by Widmeyer Research & Polling and Public Opinion Strategies. The margin of error for the study is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points (confidence level 95%).
"Adjusting to vision loss can be a daunting process for individuals and their families. AFB Senior Site features practical solutions that can make an immediate improvement in the life of someone with vision loss," said Bonnie Truax, age 81, of San Antonio, Texas, who has lost most of her vision to macular degeneration but continues to live in her home with her husband. "I'm able to remain independent because we've implemented many of the tips we've learned from AFB. We need more resources like AFB Senior Site," she concluded.
- Keep rooms well lit. Good overall lighting is a must for safety.
- Make stairways safer by placing a brightly colored strip of tape along the edge of each step.
- Paint door frames and light switches in a contrasting color to the walls around them.
- Use pill organizers with raised markings or talking labels to help prevent serious medication mishaps.
- Eliminate clutter—dispose of unnecessary items and always return things to the same place.
Contact: Adrianna Montague-Gray
Tel: (212) 502-7675
E-mail: Adrianna Montague-Gray