July 11, 2013
I had my six month low vision doctor’s appointment this week. What is low vision? Well, it is impaired vision that cannot be corrected by eye glasses or surgery or medication, and interferes with daily living. I am not completely blind. But I cannot drive due to my impaired vision. I require some accommodations to assist me in my work. I hate stairs painted or carpeted all in one color. Movie theaters may as well be black holes.
I have been living with low vision since 2007. And it has been, excuse the pun, eye-opening. The tales I could now tell about disability and living with a disability, but that will be for another day. Today, I want to comment on ACA and low vision.
I asked my low vision doctor what ACA does for those with low vision. My doctor is fabulously upbeat. She said, “Well, it is a good news, bad news story. There are provisions for children’s eye care that we’ve never had before. On the other hand, there are NO provisions for assistance to people with low vision. According to the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health, there are millions of people in the US living with low vision and about 135 million world wide [http://www.nei.nih.gov/lowvision/content/faq.asp]. That is a lot of people to ignore or put on the shelf, so to speak, because they cannot get assistance with work and daily living due to impaired vision. It seems that one of the biggest gaps in the ACA is outlining concrete strategies to address care for people living with disabilities. That is a very big oversight and one that has not perhaps gained the public’s attention as much as it should.