WGVU Broadcast & Panel Discussion on Going Blind

Picture of host Shelly Irwin with panelists.In November 2010, WGVU Public Television aired Going Blind on their program, Family Health Matters. An in-studio live discussion on blindness hosted by WGVU’s Shelly Irwin followed the screening. The panel included social worker John McElheron at the ABVI (Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired); Dr. Lori Smolinski, O.D., an optometrist and low vision specialist; and Michelle Visscher, a blind woman and vision rehabilitation therapist. The transcript of the panel discussion is provided here for further reading, courtesy of WGVU.

Michelle Visscher, blind low vision therapist, responds to questions.During the conversation, the panelists discussed how they each relate to Going Blind on a personal and professional level, addressing barriers and achievements in working with low vision, and connecting through the film’s protagonists. The film helped frame a discussion addressing difficult subject matter, such as adjusting to a walking cane, learning how to utilize other senses and abilities, and how to advocate for low vision or blind needs. The speakers, all three of whom work in professional fields related to vision loss, praised the film for presenting the patients’ point of view—a perspective that providers don’t get during routine treatments.

This Going Blind screening and subsequent conversation, like others around the world, are bringing people from different backgrounds, and relationships to the low vision community, together in collaboration to empower the visually impaired community. From film, to conversation, to action, Going Blind is creating a ripple effect: bringing people together to effectively shine a light on vision loss.