Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life stories of 4 visually impaired people

More than 21 million people in our country suffer from vision loss and about a hundred and 20-thousand of them live right here in Wisconsin.

This week NewsChannel 7 is bringing you a series of special reports called “Out of Sight,” where we’ll share the struggles four visually impaired people in our area have overcome, how they’ve done it and why the goal they are constantly striving for is independence.

“The one about blindness, it doesn’t pick one age over another and you don’t know when and you don’t know why, Joe Mielcarek, a counselor for NTC’s Visually Impaired Program.

Four people Joe introduced to NewsChannel 7 proved that statement to be true. All four of them were visually impaired for different reasons, and starting losing their vision at different ages.
Jim Unter was born with an atypical type of heredity retinal dystrophy that caused him to progressively lose his vision.

He lost his ability to read any sort of text during his college years and now has virtually no sight left.
“I have peripheral vision, but if I look straight at somebody, I don’t see them at all or they are just a big blur,” Jim said.

Unlike Unger, LeRoy Wolf had good vision most of his life. He just started experiencing problems about seven years ago. LeRoy has diabetic retinopathy.

"Slowly things are getting dark and darker to the point that I have no sight at all,” LeRoy said. “I can see a few shadows. That's all I have left."

Others are little more fortunate than Jim and LeRoy.

"There's only a small percentage of individuals who are totally blind,” said Jim, who also teaches the visually impaired at NTC. “Most people are all the way from light perception all the way up to people being able to read small magnification of print."

Sandra Volhard is one of those able to read magnetized print, but she's had vision problems since she was a baby and had cataracts removed.

"Then I developed glaucoma,” Sandra said. “It was undetected until I was about five and then it had done damage to my optic nerve, which is why I have the limited vision."

And Todd Rasmussen basically has tunnel vision. After recovering from the removal of a brain tumor in 2001, he lost part of his sight three years later, during the removal of a non-cancerous cyst.

"After that surgery, we found out that I lost considerable sight on my right eye on my peripheral look, vision."

All four of these people, for four different reasons, have something most of us take for granted every single day.

Tune into NewsChannel 7 at 6 Monday to see the struggles each of these visually impaired people face every day because of their loss of sight.


Post a Comment

<< Home