Low Vision Division Update
I hope you are managing to stay safe and sane during these challenging times. I wanted to provide an update on Low Vision Division activities at The Vision Council.
As you may have heard, Greg Chavez who has served as our Low Vision Division liaison is now the CEO of the Dental Trade Alliance. We wish Greg nothing but the best in his new position. Maureen Beddis, The Vision Council's vice president of marketing and communications, has assumed many of Greg's responsibilities including being our new liaison. Many of you know Maureen as she has worked on several low vision initiatives during her almost 15 years with The Vision Council and has worked closely with Greg.
The Low Vision Division sponsored continuing education courses originally intended to be held in conjunction with Vision Expo East will now be moved to Vision Expo West. Maureen will work closely with our Education Committee and show partners at Reed Exhibitions to ensure a smooth transition.
On Tuesday, we represented The Vision Council in a two-hour virtual meeting of the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition Low Vision Device Working Group. The Vision Council was approached by Cathy Cohen, vice president of governmental affairs for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), to join her and the ITEM Coalition in pursuing and establishing a low vision device coverage benefit within the Medicare Program. The meeting was an organizational and strategic session for all participating groups to establish general agreement for moving forward on the topic of low vision device coverage options. The conversation was productive and centered around what the general "ask" of Congress should be with regard to low vision device Medicare coverage. Organizations participating in this meeting included Prevent Blindness, Assistive Technology Industry Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Blinded Veterans Association, Vispero, American Macular Degeneration Foundation and the American Council of the Blind.
While our division meeting would usually occur at The American Academy of Optometry's annual meeting in October, the meeting will now be held virtually. Please keep an eye out for a meeting invitation in the summer months.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if The Vision Council or the Low Vision Division can assist you with anything as you navigate these uncharted waters.
Richard Tapping, Vispero
Chair, Low Vision Division