The long period of mandatory social distancing will be particularly hard on people affected by vision impairment. This is why the operators at the National Center on Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation – the only WHO collaborating center for vision rehabilitation – have launched a video initiative to remain close to their patients. “We wish to be useful, even if from a distance,” stated Dr. Filippo Amore, ophthalmologist and director of the National Center, which was inaugurated ten years ago at the Gemelli hospital in Rome by the Italian branch of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness-IAPB Italy. “We want to allow our patients to refresh their rehabilitation training program and show what a great opportunity this is to reclaim one’s autonomy, and also for people who have never heard about this possibility”.
“The main reason is that undertaking a vision rehabilitation program has helped our patients be better prepared for the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both psychological counseling and knowing how to use the many optical and digital aids available today were points of strength that helped fight back against loneliness, sadness, and social isolation”.
“Anybody who is familiar with vision impairment knows that there is no magic formula because lost vision cannot be recovered. However, not enough people are aware that there’s an aspect in which we can still make a big difference: personal autonomy”.
“Many visually impaired people have started to live again thanks to rehabilitation. But many more could also learn how to benefit from it”.
“Together with our patients,” Dr. Amore concludes, “In these videos, we look for solutions to real problems of their everyday lives: how they can solve these issues by themselves or when it is necessary how to seek the help of others. With their contribution and that of the talented operators at the National Center on Low Vision, we will look for the best strategies that can make a difference in granting patients the freedom to engage in relationships, satisfy their needs, attend to their personal matters and look after themselves independently, thus building confidence and self-empowerment, and achieving a fulfilled sense of living, that visually impaired people are fully entitled to”.