Last updated: August 24. 2013 2:25AM - 390 Views

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LIMA — While sight is a sense most take for granted every day, losing the ability to see can be an overwhelming experience.

Vision care centers can play a vital role in the transition perioud, assisting the vision impaired with new ways of learning surroundings, using special computer programs, even matching clothes. However, for vision-impaired people who live in Lima, the closest vision centers are located in Dayton and Toledo. The Lima Lions Club is trying to change that by raising $60,000 to open an vision center in town.

“A lot of the rehabilitation, orientation and mobility. All of that could be done at a centralized location,” said Mary Shenouda, Lima Lions Club President, who’s also an ophthalmologist with Pajka Eye Center. “We just recently voted to start fundraising for this.”

However, with the closest vision centers being at least 70 miles away, for now, it’s much more difficult to be able to use the services. Goodwill Easter Seals in Dayton occasionally brings a mobile service to the area, but Shenouda said it’s not the same as a permanent center.

According to the Bureau of Visual Impairment in Lima, there are at least 80 to 100 people vision-impaired people who sought jobs in the past year. Shenouda said this shows the need here, and probably shows only a fraction of those who could benefit from the center. The $60,000 figure would fund the program for the first 18 months. After that, the program would likely be self-sustaining.

The lack of resources for the vision impaired is something Carla Dysert has witnessed. She’s executive director of Primrose Retirement Community of Lima; about a dozen people have formed a support group called Eye Deal Friends at the residence earlier this year. While a vision center could provide an invaluable resource for them, the support group has great impact in itself.

“They never stop talking about their fears, how they have to face tomorrow with no eyesight. And there is nothing here for them; they have to go to Dayton or Toledo,” Dysert said.

Representatives from the vision center in Dayton have visited the retirement community group to teach new ways of doing everyday tasks. However, more help could dramatically improve their quality of life. There are other tasks that can be done differently. She said they’ve taught them they can feel their way to their apartment by putting items on the walls, instead of judging by the number of steps that they take.

“You don’t even think about not being able to read your clock and know that there’s watches that tell you the time,” Dysert said.

The Lions Club will be hosting a community garage sale fundraiser June 14 and 15 at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 1110 N. Metcalf St. The money will go toward the vision center and other Lions Club projects.

Individuals can also donate to Lima Host Lions, P.O. Box 611, Lima, OH 45802. Money needs to be specified for the vision center.

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