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Opening Eyes During Blindness Awareness Month

A womans eyesBack in the 1970s and ’80s, when the Foundation Fighting Blindness was in its formative years, blind people on TV and in movies usually fit the stereotype — dark glasses, a cane, stumbling along the sidewalk. While that one-dimensional portrayal is no longer politically correct, there are still many misconceptions about people who are blind and visually impaired, including just how many there are.

Throughout October, which is Blind Awareness Month, FFB hopes to help put those misconceptions to rest. For instance, worldwide there are 285 million people who are visually impaired, 39 million of whom are completely blind. In fact, the vast majority of the 10 million Americans who have retinal diseases — those affecting the ultra-thin tissue at the back of the eye — have at least some vision. Only it’s progressively getting worse — for some quickly, for others gradually. Some are losing peripheral and night vision, others central vision.

Which is the whole point of Blindness Awareness Month — those affected are individuals, with their own lives, dreams and hopes. To find out how you can learn more about retinal diseases, in particular, and join the Foundation in touting Blindness Awareness Month, check out this page.

In the coming weeks, FFB will also share — via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — facts about blindness and visual impairment. We’ll also show you how FFB is driving the research that will result in treatments and cures of retinal diseases.

11 Responses to 'Opening Eyes During Blindness Awareness Month'

  1. Marjorie Weintraub says:

    I have had 5 surgeries for a detached retina and then numerous laser surgeries on my eye due to a condition called (PVR) Proliferative Vitreo Retinopathy. It is a rare condition affecting 5-8 % of patients in which scar tissue develops after eye surgery, thereby causing the retina to detach 4 a 5 weeks later. This is after staying face-down for 10 days after each surgery to keep the gas bubble in place. The last surgery was a 3 1/2 hr. procedure where the doctor put a pocket of silicon oil behind the eye to prevent scar tissue from developing again. After the oil was removed three months later and the gas bubble fully dissolved – a tiny tear was discovered. Another gas bubble was injected and then i had laser surgery every few days to make sure the retina wouldn’t detach once again. My retina has stayed attached for 6 months now and the doctor wants to wait at least a year before I can surgically have a permanent lens put back in the eye for limited/ peripheral vision. The original lens had to be removed during surgery since a cataract had formed. I have had a horrible time trying to function as an independent person. I have had to rely on my husband and friends to get me through this ordeal. My kids have been frightened and still don’t have their mother back. I used to hold a job as a Director of Development, where I raised millions of dollars for non-profits. I use the computer for very short periods since I have great difficulty getting both eyes to work together. I have gotten different opinions from numerous doctors as to what is going on and it has been frustrating and challenging for me to try to gain my independence back. My pupil in the eye that had all the surgeries is larger than a normal eye which makes me much more sensitive to the light both during the day an especially at night. I prefer to use the iPAD for a short period of time since there is less glare and I enlarge the print and put it very close. The doctors do not want me patch the bad eye ( as I did for a good part of the year) even though it is so much harder to focus and so distorted.

    I would love to know if there are any type of support groups or research being done about my condition? I haven’t been able to find anything other than some articles on google. There doesn’t seem to be an organization that is concentrating on research for PVR, which is horribly debilitating and causes blindness. I try not to think about what would happen if I got another detached retina!! It makes me nervous…especially since I now have a cataract that has formed in the good eye and my mother had cataract surgery and a detached retina. It is said to be heredity, but she didn’t have PVR, which causes the retina to continue to detach. Also, I happen to be 25 years younger than she was when her retina detached.

    PLEASE ADVISE ME AS TO HOW I CAN FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT (PVR) Proliferative Vitreo Retinopathy. I just wish the Foundation Fighting Blindness had the funding and interest in conducting research for a cure for PVR!

    Thank you for all your fabulous work and dedication in trying to find a cure for vision impairment and blindness!!

    • EyeOnTheCure says:

      Marjorie, thanks for your comment and for telling us a bit about your story. We are sorry that your condition has caused you so much struggle and grief.

      As you noted above, FFB is focused on retinal degenerative diseases and so we are unable to provide the best research and medical information on PVR.

      We would recommend that you get in touch with the National Eye Institute. They provide some information on this condition and may be a able to point you to further resources and assistance if you can contact them.

      We wish you all the best during this difficult time and ask that you contact us at if there is anything further we can do for you.

    • cheryl says:

      How are you doing now? My beloved husband has had three detached retina surgeries in two months, PVR, scleral buckle, lens removed, and now the eye has been filled with oil. I am terrified, overwhelmed, and hurt for him. Does it EVER get better? Did your retina stay attached after the oil was removed? Was a lens insertion done?

  2. October is such an important month to celebrate and raise awareness about low vision and blindness. This month is full of special days and themes. To read about the other blindness, braille, low vision and eye care celebrations in October happening around the world, read our blog “October a Month-long Celebration of Blindness Awareness.” You can find it here:

  3. Allison says:

    When is blind awareness day?

  4. Tom ferguson says:

    Hi Marjorie, I hope you still check this site once in a while. I’ve been looking for a support group for awhile. I have had PVR, which began in 2012 and resulted in seven surgeries. The outcome is irreparable damage to my left eye and extensive peripheral damage to my right eye. Does anyone know if there is a support group? We are kind of lost out here. I find support groups for almost every other medical problem except for this one. I hope I hear back from you or someone.

  5. Great Day Everyone! The Attractive Thinker Day is approaching on next Saturday, October 17, 2015 where I will be supporting children with sight-impairments with Braille Technology, Braille Books, and Scholarships for College and Skills for Independence Programs! I am the parent of an adult blind son who lost his eyesight to cancer, Bilateral Retinoblastoma, when he was a year old. Kevin will be 29 years old this year, is a Music Producer, and Certified Massage Therapist! Organizations that service people with sight-impairments contributed massively to his success and independence! I am looking to serve the needs of children with sight-impairments. I’ve had several conversations with organizations that service the blind community and the School District Headquarters, including the IEP office and people who service children with sight-impairments in an attempt to discover where the need is the most. Please post some ideas of technology, braille resources, and other items that you feel as though children could benefit from to enhance their Braille Literacy and Social Independence! Need more ideas because times have changed since my son was younger and I know there’s a lot more resources that children can benefit from than when we were seeking resources over 20 years ago! Looking forward to seeing your posts! Check out The Attractive Thinker Day event page for more details about this incredible day coming up next Saturday at! On this day during Blindness Awareness Month, I’ll be visiting organizations that service children/adults with sight-impairments and providing resources that promote Braille Literacy and Social Independence!

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