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Missing Memphis

Visual impairment impacts how thousands of our Memphis relatives and friends see the same world that the rest of us experience each day. Learn more about new resources and ways that you can help visually impaired people enjoy life and reach their potential.

Memphis bridge at sunset
SCO tower

SCO's Campaign

Helping people see to their potential is central to Southern College of Optometry’s mission of training some of the nation’s top eye doctors. Since 1932, hundreds of thousands of Memphis residents have visited one of SCO’s public eyecare clinics for their vision needs. We recognize the additional challenges faced by people with visual impairment, so that’s why we’ve launched the Missing Memphis project.

Missing Memphis works to increase awareness about the challenges faced by people with visual impairment. Many visually impaired people lack access to transportation or technological advances in devices designed to help people live life to their fullest. As we approach the year 2020, the Missing Memphis project is committed to raising awareness about the wide range of services that SCO and others can provide to visually impaired people. Aided by a social worker and other educational resources, we’re strengthening the safety net needed by people with visual impairment in order to thrive.

We’re additionally partnering with other healthcare providers, educators, social support agencies, and related services to communicate about the growing network of support that exists to assist visually impaired people, their caregivers, and their families. Through commercials, ads, billboards, and other public awareness events, we’re hoping to generate additional support for additional resources. Because a number of visual impairment assistive devices aren’t covered by most insurance programs, electronic magnifiers, smart devices, and other tools can make a significant difference in the lives of visually impaired people if we can help them secure this technology.

SCO tower and the Eye Center
Together, we can help make sure that visually impaired people in our community don’t miss out on the abundant opportunities that make life meaningful in Memphis.

Resources for Visually Impaired People

Downtown Memphis

If you or someone you know is visually impaired, resources exist to help! You might be a healthcare provider or educator, a member of a support group, or someone who works with people who have experienced visual impairment issues.

Our message is simple: there are things that can make life better for visually impaired people if you know that there are services waiting to help. Through our social worker and Low Vision and Rehabilitation Services programs, Southern College of Optometry can assist with quality of life issues by providing a different kind of eye care.

Our program will help figure out what you or the person with visual impairment in your life needs. Perhaps it’s a state-of-the-art piece of technology that identifies currency amounts or temperature controls on a stove. Perhaps it’s assistance with transportation access to keep doctor’s appointments or shopping trips.

Research shows that visually impaired people who find the right resources to fit their needs are far more satisfied with their quality of life. From receiving visual impairment devices to visual impairment training, patients can also benefit from home environment changes, travel training, or participation in support groups and counseling.

This helpful brochure produced by The Lighthouse Guild is available in both English and Spanish and provides an easy-to-read, downloadable booklet for both patients and their caregivers:
View Resources

What Does Visual Impairment Mean?

Many eye diseases and injuries can decrease vision. Common conditions include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Genetic diseases may affect vision at an early age.

Acquired brain injury or trauma can also impact a person’s sight or their brain’s ability to process the information seen through the eyes.

Children and young adults may also suffer from issues related to how their eyes work together to process information or motor dysfunctions that can affect their academic performance.

To learn more, visit these helpful resources:

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What Does Visual Impairment Look Like?

If you’ve never known someone visually impaired, you may not understand the wide range of visual impairment faced by patients. Some visual impairment issues may be caused by disease, while others can be triggered by accidents or traumatic brain injuries.

Some visual impairment problems are preventable, while many may happen because of the aging process or complications from common health concerns like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Normal vision Impaired vision
Diabetic Retinopathy
Normal vision Impaired vision
Normal vision Impaired vision

Assistance Programs

Southern College of Optometry works with a number of charitable programs to gain access to resources designed to help patients. Seniors, children, or those needing additional financial assistance may benefit from some of the programs that the college works to provide through The Eye Center at Southern College of Optometry in the heart of the Memphis Medical District or through other community partners.

We can put you in touch with a social worker who provides assistance to visually impaired people and their families or caregivers. Because Southern College of Optometry has worked with patients for more than 80 years as part of our mission, we’re well suited to help determine a person’s needs.

A variety of perceptual and developmental exams are available to provide information about how the eyes work together to understand what they see or how eyes can fail to work together.

During a visual impairment exam, a primary goal to maximize a patient’s remaining vision when medical or surgical treatment cannot provide further improvement. This goal is also true for patients when treatment may be delayed and they must learn to function with their remaining vision.

A visual impairment evaluation can prescribe optical and other aids to maximize remaining vision. Optical aids include magnifiers and telescopes for seeing. Closed circuit TV screens can enlarge print up to 100 times, enabling a person to read.

Advances in technology also provide apps via smart phones or tablets that allow patients to point and identify people, objects, or even currency amounts for money. Talking watches, books on tape, filters to reduce glare, and other devices can improve daily living.

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