Local eye expo connects visually impaired with resources to maintain independence

A vision expo Saturday, March 4 at the University of Houston will offer exhibits, programming and workshops for Houston’s visually impaired community on maintaining independence. The event is open to the public and will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Health and Biomedical Sciences Building at 4901 Calhoun Rd.

Hosted by the University Eye Institute’s Center for Sight Enhancement (CSE) in the UH College of Optometry, the sixth-annual Houston Area Insight Expo is sponsored by the Houston Area Visually Impaired Network (HAVIN), a 501(3)c nonprofit organization.

The CSE serves clients with low vision, which means they have a visual acuity of 20/70 or poorer that cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses, contacts or surgery. People with low vision find everyday tasks difficult to do, making activities such as reading, shopping, cooking, writing and watching TV challenging. While nothing can be done to restore their lost vision, patients who visit the center are introduced to the latest technology, training and techniques to help regain or maintain independence and an improved quality of life through vision rehabilitation. The theme of this year’s eye expo – “Pathways Toward Independence” – addresses just that.

The following workshops will be offered:

  • Adjustment to Blindness
  • Recreation Opportunities for the Visually Impaired
  • Technology Trends
  • Transportation Options
  • Independent Travel
  • Organizational Skills

This year’s keynote speaker is Sandhya Rao, who was diagnosed with a rare brittle bone disease called osteopetrosis at the age of two months resulting in not just fragile bones, but also blindness. Despite the challenges she faced, she was taught to set high goals, work hard and always look forward. She learned Braille at age six and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Rice University with a B.A. in psychology and behavioral science and received her J.D. from Stanford University Law School. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1994 and by the next year became a staff attorney in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where she continues to work for two federal judges, conducting legal research on constitutional issues.

Pre-registration is $5 until Feb. 20 and $10 after that. Walk-ups are welcome on the day of the event. Breakfast will be served, and there will be door prizes. An exclusive door prize will be given to those who pre-register. For more information or to register, contact Stacie Hardy at [email protected] or 832-779-7477.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 42,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

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