Duke Energy Convention Center’s iconic “CINCINNATI” sign will shine brightly in blue and yellow in early February to honor the work of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired.
The sign’s special look will be on display Monday, Feb. 5 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 in recognition of Low Vision Awareness Month. An estimated 3 million people in the United States age 40 and older live with low vision, according to the National Eye Institute. It affects younger people as well, including CABVI clients.
The pattern selected for the two-day campaign recognizes CABVI’s agency colors.
“CABVI wants to be sure that our community knows that we are here to help people who are visually impaired (low vision) as well as people who are blind,” said Aaron Bley, CABVI’s chief mission officer. Many of these people have had regular vision all of their lives and are losing vision due to age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration.”
Low vision is a state when a person has difficulty seeing even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery. Most people with the condition are 65 or older. Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma are the leading causes of this type of visual impairment in older adults. That age group accounts for 63% of CABVI’s clients.
However, low vision happens to people younger than 40 as well. Among younger people, vision loss is most often caused by inherited eye conditions, infectious and autoimmune eye diseases or trauma.
At CABVI, a specially trained optometrist and team of therapists help those with low vision adapt to their condition. They do so in part by prescribing specialized devices and providing instruction on how to use the tools.
“We want to provide hope for people who have lost a lot of vision but may not realize that there are ways to adapt,” Bley said.
A year-round mission
For CABVI, Low Vision Awareness Month is more of a public education effort than a specific fundraising campaign. However, the organization welcomes community support on its website throughout the year to help individuals adapt to severe vision loss.
Beyond its Low Vision Services, CABVI offers a variety of comprehensive rehabilitation services and employment opportunities to help people who are blind or visually impaired lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives.
“With adaptive equipment and services from CABVI, these individuals can remain independent in their homes and continue to participate in the community,” Bley said.