CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Oct. 4, 2002
UI low vision specialists to highlight rehabilitation service
The Low Vision Rehabilitation Service of the University of Iowa Center for
Macular Degeneration will join hundreds of other organizations nationwide
in calling for improved Medicare coverage for patients with low vision during
the eighth annual celebration of National Vision Rehabilitation Day (NVRD)
Thursday, Oct. 10.
Created to raise public awareness about how people who are blind or partially
sighted can overcome the challenges of vision impairment through vision rehabilitation,
NVRD is hosted by Lighthouse International in New York.
Supporters are issuing a call-to-action to support the Medicare Vision Rehabilitation
Services Act (S.1967/H.R.2484), landmark legislation to improve Medicare coverage
for specialized services provided by vision rehabilitation professionals.
"The Medicare Vision Rehabilitation Services Act would help older Americans
with vision impairment to live safely and independently, which is the spirit
on which NVRD is based," said Barbara Silverstone, president and CEO
of Lighthouse International. "With our rallying slogan, 'Medicare Now!'
we are declaring our support of this vital legislation that will ensure access
to Medicare-covered vision rehabilitation services for older adults who are
blind or partially sighted, as well as standardize Medicare coverage nationwide."
The incidence of vision loss is greater than commonly recognized. According
to the Lighthouse National Survey on Vision Loss (1995), one in six Americans
(17 percent) age 45 and older, representing 16.5 million middle age and older
adults, report some form of vision impairment even when wearing glasses or
"NVRD is the perfect occasion to gain an awareness that the earlier
people learn about vision rehabilitation, the more options they are equipped
with to improve the quality of their lives and maximize their independence,"
Mark E. Wilkinson, an optometrist and director of the Low Vision Rehabilitation
Service at UI Hospitals and Clinics, said, "Many people are told there
is nothing more that can be done to enhance their vision. This may be true
medically and/or surgically. However, with low vision rehabilitation services,
people can learn new ways to accomplish everyday tasks, and with specialized
devices, they can lead qualitatively better lives."
The National Vision Rehabilitation Day Web site is www.lighthouse.org/nvrd
or you can go to the Medicare Now website at: www.medicarenow.org.
For additional information about National Vision Rehabilitation Day, contact
Wilkinson at (319) 356-8301.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and
UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research
programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.