Healthcare Professionals

Lighthouse Guild is a not-for-profit healthcare organization committed to preventing vision loss. We also treat those people who are at risk or already affected by vision loss, so that they can live full and independent lives. These articles serve as a resource for healthcare professionals.

Lighthouse Guild Honors Scientists at Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Pisart Award Lecture

Lighthouse Guild recently honored two scientists for their significant achievements in vision research at the 2017 Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Award Luncheon and the Pisart Award Lecture. The symposium, awards ceremony and lecture were held at The University Club of New York in October.

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New Technologies for Patients with Vision Disorders

As part of our collaboration with Columbia University’s Department of Ophthalmology, we jointly sponsored the Pre-Conference, held before the annual Bressler Symposium. Entitled “New Technologies for Patients with Vision Disorders”, the conference was aimed at the vision care community. Speakers presented about evolving technologies that directly benefit patients, as well as new directions for expanding technology development for the growing numbers of people with vision loss.

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After Hospital Discharge: Does a Diagnosis of Vision Loss Affect the Use of Healthcare?

Previous research using national samples found that patients with vision loss admitted to the hospital for common disorders spend more time in the hospital, are more likely to be readmitted and are more likely to use costly emergency department services after discharge than non-visually impaired patients.

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Psychotherapy and Terminally Ill Patients

With the demographic bulge of the baby boomers entering early old age, more psychotherapists in outpatient settings are going to find themselves working with patients who are facing end of life issues.

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Using the BrainPort® Vision Pro for the Performance of Functional Tasks

Researchers looking for a non-invasive means to restore functional abilities to persons blinded by traumatic injury presented “Performance of Real-world Function Tasks Using the BrainPort® Vision Pro in Persons Blinded by Traumatic Injury” at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

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Lighthouse Guild and Columbia Ophthalmology: Working Together to Improve the Lives of People with Vision Loss

For almost two decades, Lighthouse Guild and Columbia University’s Department of Ophthalmology have worked together to improve the quality of vision rehabilitation, advance knowledge of the field and better train practitioners.

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Can Brighter Lighting Help with Reading Performance?

Can brighter lighting help improve reading performance? That question was asked by researchers presenting “The Effects of Lighting on Reading Speed as a Function of Letter Size” at the 12th International Conference of the International Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation. The authors were William H. Seiple*, Olga Overbury, Bruce Rosenthal**, Tiffany Arango, J. Vernon Odom and Alan R. Morse***.

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Newly Published Data Adopted as Official WHO-Recognized Estimates for the Prevalence of Blindness and Vision Impairment

A paper* published in the Lancet Global Health journal estimates that there were 36 million people who were blind. Further, 217 million people live with severe or moderate visual impairment (MSVI). In total, 253 million people were living with visual impairment in 2015. It also estimates that 1.1 billion people have near-vision impairment—a condition that can be corrected with spectacles.

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Meeting the Needs of Children with Vision Loss

Infants and children with blindness or visual impairment face many challenges that affect their overall development. Guided and consistently sequenced instruction is recommended as the best teaching approach.

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Strategies for Challenging Behaviors in Adult Day Health Care Settings

In an Adult Day Health Care program, challenging behavior puts a vulnerable population in increased jeopardy. Three principles for the management of challenging behaviors are: identify, intervene and collaborate.

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Monocular Vision: Etiology, Symptoms and Rehabilitation

A common cause of sudden and permanent visual loss is ocular infarction—ischemic damage to the eye. The consequences are lack of depth perception and restricted peripheral vision in one eye.

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Valentin Haüy and Louis Braille: Enabling Education for the Blind

The ideas of three philosophers—René Descartes, John Locke and Denis Diderot—planted the seeds for the desire to educate people who are blind and, most importantly, accept them into society.

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Transformative Technological Advancements for the Patient with Low Vision

The advancement of technology has transformed the world. Technological advances also have revolutionized medicine, in particular, optometry, to improve the lives of patients who once were seen as untreatable.

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Latest Tools Available at the Accessible Music Technology Lab

Our Accessible Music Technology Lab provides access to alternative forms of music notation, audio recording and editing, and MIDI sequencing. This allows a person who is visually impaired to create a musical score in print.

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In June, Lighthouse Guild awarded 12 scholarships, 10 of $10,000 each to 10 high school seniors headed to college this fall and two of $5,000 each to two graduate students to further their studies. The 10 high school students came from the states of California, Florida, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island and Texas. Two teachers were awarded $5,000 each based on essays by two of the scholarship recipients.

President and CEO Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, and William H. Seiple, PhD, Vice President of Research, and Director, the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute, presented at ARVO May 2017: “The Impact of Vision Loss on Healthcare Use by Medicare Beneficiaries Following Hospital Discharge”. Paul P. Lee, Nidhi Talwar, Joshua D. Stein. Dr. Seiple also presented “Performance of Real-World Functional Tasks Using the BrainPort® Vision Pro in Persons Blinded by Traumatic Injury”. Patricia Grant, Meesa Maeng , Tiffany Arango , Janet P. Szlyk , Rich Hogle.

Dr. Morse, Dr. Seiple and Bruce Rosenthal, OD, Chief of Low Vision Services, presented “The Effects of Lighting on Reading Speed as a Function of Letter Size” at the 12th International Congress of the International Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation, June 2017. Olga Overbury, Tiffany Arango, J Vernon Odom. Dr. Seiple and Mary Lou Jackson also presented “Do Individuals with Stargardt macular dystrophy fixate eccentrically when asked to look straight ahead?”

Linda Gerra, EdD, Director of Children’s Vision Programs, presented “Visual Impairment: Implications on Motor Development and Concept Formation in Infants and Toddlers,” at the Young Child Expo & Conference.

Occupational Therapist Yu-Pin Hsu conducted a webinar for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists entitled “The Impact of Vision Loss on Development and Learning in Young Children”.

Yu-Pin Hsu and Annemarie O’Hearn, Vice President, Education and Training, presented “The Impact of Vision Loss on Development and Learning” at the 2017 Envision Conference.

Behavioral Health Services Psychiatrist César A. Alfonso, MD, co-authored three chapters in the Comprehensive Textbook of AIDS Psychiatry: A Paradigm for Integrated Care, 2nd ed., M.A. Cohen, J.M. Gorman, J.M. Jacobson, P. Volberding, S.L. Letendre, (Eds), Oxford University Press, 2017.

  • “Suicide and HIV” C.A. Alfonso, E. Stern-Rodriguez, M.A. Cohen
  • “Psychotherapeutic Interventions” J. Soffer, C.A. Alfonso, J. Grimaldi, J.M. Gorman
  • “Overview of HIV-Associated Multimorbidities” L.F. Pereira, M. Bradley, H.W. Goforth, C.A. Alfonso, J.Z. Lux, E. Martinez, M.P. Mullen

Lighthouse Guild: Moving to Help Meet a Growing Need
To meet the growing need for our services, we have moved our headquarters. Our new state-of-the-art facility is located on 250 West 64th Street (between Amsterdam and West End Avenues) in New York City. The building is designed around the unique needs of our patients, clients and students and will enhance our capacity to deliver critical, patient-centered services, offer comprehensive educational programs, and conduct groundbreaking research.

The 2017 Bressler Prize recipient is Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Van Gelder’s work is focused on the pathogenesis of uveitis and non-visual photoreception. He runs an active laboratory investigating uses of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostics in uveitis and he has been at the forefront of the field of non-visual photoreception for the past 20 years.

The 2017 Pisart Award recipient is Yoshikazu Imanishi, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University. A vision researcher whose work has led to novel therapeutic approaches and diagnostic methods for blinding disorders, Dr. Imanishi’s pioneering work on Usher syndrome, an inherited disorder causing combined blindness and deafness, has brought hope to patients and families worldwide.

The 2017 Oberdorfer Award in Low Vision Research recipient is Gary S. Rubin, PhD, FARVO, of University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology. The Oberdorfer Award in Low Vision Research was created in 2012 in collaboration with the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research with support from Lighthouse Guild. The award recognizes an individual for his or her role in furthering low vision research and rehabilitation.

500 Cities Project: Vision and Eye Health Community Responds to Lack of Vision Data
In a recent letter to key public health leaders, Lighthouse Guild joined 165 organizations across the vision and eye health community to voice concern that vision data was not included in the 500 Cities Project, a new initiative aimed at assisting cities and local health departments to better understand the burden of health-related concerns in their communities.  The letter was sent to the leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

President and CEO Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, authored “Valentin Haüy and Louis Braille: Enabling Education for the Blind” a chapter in the upcoming Springer publication Foundations of Ophthalmology – Great Insights that Established the Discipline, edited by Drs. Michael Marmor and Daniel Albert.

COO Mark G. Ackermann presented “Advancing Policy Priorities: Continuing Our National Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss” at the American Foundation for the Blind’s Annual Leadership Conference. He also presented to graduate students in the Medical Humanities Program at Drew University.

William Seiple, PhD, Vice President of Research, and Director, the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute, recently authored with Danna Jennings, Richard B. Rosen, Leona Borchert, Lee Canale, Nora Fagan, and Mark Forrest Gordon (2016). Ophthalmologic Baseline Characteristics and 2-Year Ophthalmologic Safety Profile of Pramipexole IR Compared with Ropinirole IR in Patients with Early Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’sDisease, 2016, Article ID 8298503, pp 1-14.

Judy Farrell, GuildNet VP, Government Affairs, moderated the GuildNet co-sponsored Hudson Valley Access to Health Care Coalition’s meeting titled “Initial Health Care Moves in the New 115th Congress and What’s at Stake for New York: The Affordable Care Act, Family Planning, and Advocacy Efforts”. Ms. Farrell also moderated the February meeting, where the guest speaker was NYS Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chair of the NYS Assembly Health Committee.

Ed Ross, LCSW, Director, Behavioral Health Services, presented “The Intrinsic Nature of Suffering. J. Berzoff and M. Rattner” at the 2017 Conference of the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work.

Patricia H. Granados, RN, VP JGB Healthcare Services and Director, GuildCare Network, presented “Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement for ADHC” at the 2017 Adult Day Health Care Council Annual Conference.