The Senior Citizens Council of Madison County, Inc. held a presentation on educating the community about visual impairments for Madison residents on Wednesday, July 15. The Lighthouse of the Big Bend is a non-profit agency that works with individuals with visual impairments. They have several programs, such as early intervention, transition, orientation and mobility. They serve 11 counties in the Big Bend area. The speakers of the presentation were Amanda Sterly and Lindsay Stratton of Lighthouse of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, Fl., and are both independent living specialists. Amanda Sterly is from Michigan and moved to Florida 10 months ago. She teaches people who are blind or those that are losing their vision how to be independent. Sterly is partially blind. “I have some vision and light perception in my bad eye,” Sterly said. Stratton explained some tips to know if you are experiencing vision loss, such as having trouble accessing print materials, eyes not being able to focus on a particular object and eyes becoming cloudy. Common eye conditions they discussed include blindness, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Sterly explained each eye condition and what people should do if they experience any problems with their vision.
They performed an activity with everyone that involved drawing a line across a sheet of paper and writing their name on the line with their eyes closed. The attendance of the presentation was more than what the speakers expected. Before doing an activity with the senior citizens, they realized the number of people that attended. “We didn’t expect many people but it’s great,” Stratton said. The independent living specialists goal is to promote independence for individuals. The speakers announced a fundraiser the Lighthouse of the Big Bend hosts annually. This year the 11th annual Paula Bailey “Dining In The Dark” will be held at 5 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the University Center Club in Tallahassee, Fl. inside Florida State University’s stadium. During the event, everyone will eat in the dark and see how it feels to be without vision. By having this fundraiser, it will allow the Lighthouse to continuously offer free services and tools to individuals with visual impairments. Lighthouse of Big Bend is partly funded by state and federal funding. A portion of their funding comes from fundraisers.
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1. Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo By Shikari Hamm, July 15, 2015. The speakers of the vision presentation, Lindsay Stratton (left) and Amanda Sterly (right), are independent living specialists from the Lighthouse of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, Fl.