Program Justification: Professional Vision Rehabilitation and FAASB
- Vision Rehabilitation is a specialized array of services which enable people who are blind and visually impaired to participate fully in home life, education, community activities and employment. Independent travel training ( Orientation and Mobility), alternative communication skills (Braille and computer technology, for example), Low Vision Services, and skills needed to cook, shop and manage a household are provided by nationally certified blindness professionals in FAASB agencies across the state.
- Member agencies of FAASB are accredited by the National Accreditation council on Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired (NAC).
- On the national level, FAASB collaborates with other major organizations in the interest of specialized, professional, and accountable Vision Rehabilitation services. These include the Association for Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation Professionals (ACVREP), the National Council of Private Agencies Serving the blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI), and the National Vision Rehabilitation Association (NVRA).
- Vision Rehabilitation Services provided by FAASB agencies reduce the economic and human cost of blindness. Outcomes of these essential services include reduced unemployment, reduced admissions to Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes, reduced emergency room admissions, and increased economic productivity among family members who might otherwise provide home care for loved ones who have lost vision.
- At least 10 million people are blind in the US today, according to American Foundation for the Blind.
- Every seven minutes, someone in the United States loses their vision
- In Florida, the incidence is 10 per 1000 according to the National Eye Institute, or twice the national rate.
- Much of the higher prevalence of blindness and visual impairment among Floridians is attributable to the large and growing elderly population in our state. A recent study performed by Duke University tells us that 50% of elders have one of three eye conditions which can lead to blindness: glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
- Increased survival rates for prematurely born infants also are having an impact. A recent study indicates that, among babies surviving premature births (22-25 weeks gestation), 46% had severe or moderate disabilities including vision loss.
- Due to rapid population growth in particular among seniors, vision loss in Florida can be expected to far outpace the national average over the next two decades
- Blind and visually impaired elders who do not have access to professional Vision Rehabilitation services face increased risk for:
- Entry into Assisted Living programs
- Emergency Room visits due to falls, etc.
- Lost economic productivity of family members who must provide home care
- The unemployment rate among working aged blind people in the U.S. is 70%