March 27, 2022
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – A Fargo woman struggling with macular degeneration is looking for devices to make her life easier.
Roberta LeClerc was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2019 and simple tasks have become impossible as her vision progressively becomes clouded through time.
“It’s a tough thing to accept because first of all, you lose the ability to drive a car which takes away a lot of your freedom. You have to depend on other people to take you whenever you wanna go and during COVID that was bad. Because you weren’t supposed to be with other people, so I never could just jump in the car and go off by myself,” says Leclerc.
Those who have low vision emphasize taking care of your eyes and if you have a condition, to be aware of your current process.
“For families of people with macular, I can’t stress enough the importance of watching their progression and making sure that you’re there to help, you’re there to take any burden off of them because it’s so frustrating to first of all age and then age and not be able to do simple tasks,” says Roberta’s daughter, Ann.
Sanford Health is allowing patients to use a new device to help those with low vision see things more clearly. The IrisVision arrived at Sanford Health last week and is already making an impact for the ones using them who have certain degenerative eye conditions.
The National Herald has reported that Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), have reintroduced the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Act. This legislation would help vision-impaired Medicare beneficiaries live safe and independent lives by creating a five-year national demonstration project to evaluate the economic impact of allowing reimbursement for low vision devices, which are currently excluded from Medicare coverage.
The legislation was first introduced in the 116th Congress in 2019 and had 25 original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.
Medicare coverage for assistive equipment would offer more choice to visually impaired Americans who are Medicare eligible.
Representative Bilirakis, a visually impaired American himself, believes the legislation is a preventative measure that will help seniors stay healthy, active, and self-sufficient for a longer period of time as they access low vision assistive devices that have previously been out of reach for seniors on a fixed income.
Eye-Link presented its first grant in 2001, and continues to provide a wide range of specialized assistive equipment and adaptive technologies to visually impaired and blind residents in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, many who are Seniors challenged by substantial and uncorrectable sight loss.
HOW YOUR OWN DNA COULD SOMEDAY SAVE YOUR VISION
Imagine living with a genetic disease that could cause blindness in your 40s—and your doctor tells you there are no treatment options. It's for patients like these that Johnson & Johnson is harnessing cutting-edge technology in the hope of finding real solutions.
By Hallie Levine October 11, 2021
It can be devastating to watch someone slowly lose their vision.
Just ask James List, M.D., Ph.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head of Cardiovascular, Metabolism and Retina at Janssen Research & Development, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Before he joined the company in 2014, the Harvard endocrinologist spent his days counseling patients with diabetes. “Many people don’t realize that diabetes can cause irreversible damage to multiple organs, including the eyes,” he says.
Aimee Volk, MS, OTR/L, Vision and Independent Living Services Administrator for North Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation Human Services has been elected as a Director for Eye-Link North Dakota.
Aimee has a true desire for helping individuals coping with substantial sight loss regain and maintain their independence. Aimee began her career in Occupational Therapy in 2010 working in various settings of the hospital including ICU, rehabilitation, and acute care. Aimee soon realized her passion was with vision. In 2017, Aimee began a new journey as the Vision and Independent Living Services Administrator for the North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Aimee’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s of University Studies, a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy (2009) from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and a Graduate Certificate in Low Vision (2020) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Aimee currently resides in Bismarck, ND with her husband Troy, daughters Paighton and Mallana, and three dogs.
Eye-Link welcomes the leadership and experience Aimee brings to the North Dakota Board.