Eight local children with severe visual impairments received Electronic Video Magnifiers (EVMs) March 15, funded by The White-Wilson Community Foundation (WWCF) in collaboration with Sight Savers America (SSA), a nationally expanding nonprofit organization that provides free assistive technology for qualifying children. All eight children have visual impairment that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medical or surgical treatment.
In every area SSA serves, there is a historic backlog of children in need of high-tech vision aids to meet basic daily needs, but these children have been unable to access it due to the high cost and the fact it is not covered by medical insurance. SSA’s Low Vision Program will now be able to transition to an annual maintenance phase for these children in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties who age into the program, move into the area or develop new/worsening eye issues.
The EVMs are life-changing, allowing each child to make the most of his or her remaining vision. This device dramatically enhances contrast and magnifies objects up to 118 times. It opens up a new world of opportunity, allowing them to read, write, do homework, groom themselves and even see the faces of their loved ones clearly.
EVMs were provided to each child at no cost to their families. During the clinic, each child was trained by SSA staff to use the EVM before they took it home that day. SSA will also provide extensive follow-up eye care, maintain and repair the equipment as needed and keep records for analysis of the child’s progress with their vision equipment until the child reaches the age of 19.