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February is Low Vision/Blindness Awareness Month

These glasses use the power of speech.

February is Low Vision/Blindness Awareness Month. According to the National Eye Institute, currently 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired.

Low vision is when even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people have difficulty seeing and everyday tasks are difficult to do. A person who is blind has no vision. Society's Assets assists people with low vision or blindness in using magnifying and adaptive devices. Staff also teach new daily living skills to help individuals remain safe and live independently.

"One of the newest pieces of adaptive equipment is Envision's AI (artificial intelligence)-powered glasses," said Tami Frentzel, Independent Living Coordinator at Society's Assets. "Using the power of speech to make everyday life more accessible, the glasses provide audio scene descriptions, recognize and announce the pre-programmed faces of friends and family, and supply color and object recogniton. Specifically designed for those with profound sight loss, the glasses offer sighted guidance, but not from aother person."

While the cost to purchase the Envision glasses,, could be prohibitive at about $3,500, there is a program called WisLoan that may be helpful. "WisLoan is a statewide alternative loan program that allows Wisconsin residents with disabilities to finance assistive technology needed to live more independently and productively," reported Nathan Webb, Independent Living Coordinator at Society's Assets. "Loans can be used to purchase magnifiers and other visual aides; wheelchairs and motorized scooters; hearing aids; control/switches for lights, doors and appliances; and vehicle lifts and adaptive hand controls."

Contact Tami or Nathan for more information at 800-378-9128.