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Educational Outreach

Going Blind and Going Forward

Joe LovettHi, I’m Joe Lovett, director of Going Blind, and I’d like your help spreading the word about our film, our outreach, Going Blind and Going Forward, and the issues they raise for the general public and the 25 million blind and visually impaired Americans.

According to a recent national poll by the American Foundation for the Blind:

Americans fear vision loss more than they fear cancer, HIV/AIDS, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems.

Yet despite, or perhaps because of, this fear, most of us are very ill informed about vision loss, how to prevent it and how to treat it. We remain in the dark about this hugely important issue, often allowing preventable problems to escalate until they seem insurmountable. And there is little discussion about the new technologies and training that allow people with vision loss to continue leading full, active lives once available medical intervention has been exhausted.

Did You Know:

  • 70% of visually impaired people who could be working are unemployed because they do not know what resources are available.
  • Only 1-2% of blind individuals use a guide dog even though the majority of dogs are provided free of charge.
  • 4 times as many veterans are returning from war with significant eye injuries than with lost limbs, but only 1/3 of them take advantage of vision rehabilitation.
  • Less than 5% of blind and low vision Americans obtain vision rehabilitative services of any kind.

Red River Theater Screening 2As you can see, the knowledge and services exist but the people who would benefit most from them remain uninformed, unaware, and unable to advocate for themselves. Our Outreach, Going Blind and Going Forward, is working to change that. With the help of local, national and international organizations, the film has been screened all over the world—in theaters, at blind service organizations, medical schools, Lions clubs, libraries, universities and more.

Following these screenings, we have encouraged the participation of expert panels to answer questions and let audiences know what services are available in their local communities. We hope to open the lines of communication between the visually impaired, their doctors, low vision specialists, and the general public who might benefit in the future.

As more people are made aware of the issues, the outreach is turning into a movement to provide continuum of care throughout the vision loss spectrum and to inform people about the lives, needs, and unique abilities of blind and visually impaired Americans. To take this dialogue on vision loss nationwide, we have teamed up with NETA to make Going Blind available to all 350 public television stations free of charge this fall.

This outreach is labor intensive and costly and we can’t do it without your help.

What You Can Do:

  • Call your local libraries and blind service organizations and check to see if they have purchased a copy of Going Blind. If they haven’t, tell them about the film and encourage them to view it themselves by streaming it from our website. (If you have the means, you can donate an educational copy to your local library or blind and visually impaired service organization.)
  • You can also take it a step further and contact local organizations that could host or sponsor a screening of the film. On our website, you can find a detailed Outreach Toolkit which contains many resources on how to find panel participants, structure and promote the event, and other ideas to help get you started.
  • Your own tax-deductible contribution can make a difference as we work on new and innovative ways to spread the film’s message. Go to the donate section of the website to contribute.

And most importantly, please help us keep the conversation going. Please share the information you learned from the film with friends and family, with doctors or patients, and help us make sure that everyone has the information they need to prevent, treat, and cope with vision loss.

Thank you.

Joe