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Low Vision Self-Help Association

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Irene Lambert is President of Montreal's Low Vision Self Help Association

Our organization is a voluntary, not for profit group of seniors who meet in West Island, Montreal, once a month to visit with old friends and new, and listen to guest speakers. We learn what is available in the way of resources and services, or discover the latest gadgets on the market. We share ideas and strategies for coping with vision loss and generally enjoy an afternoon outing.

This association is now 14 years old and continues to thrive. A dedicated Board of Directors oversees the month to month programming, the annual budget and operations, publicity and transportation needs. Membership is open to anyone who cares to join for $5.00 per year. A majority of the board of directors, including the president and vice president, must be visually impaired.

Although many of our charter members have passed on, we still have a few of the original members attending regularly, and at least three members of the board of directors have charter status. All of our activities and special events are geared to accommodate the priorities of low vision.

Several of our members have joined the Montreal Chapter of NFB:AE but our association does very little in the way of advocacy. We may write an occasional letter in support of a local cause or realize the need for more public education about sight loss, but seldom can summon the energy for a major involvement.

Self-advocacy is far more within reach and is discussed within the scope of coping strategies. Newcomers to "Low Vision" often find it difficult to understand how we can joke and laugh at our own problems with seeing but, ultimately, they join in the merriment and realize that concerts, traveling and independent living are still viable and worthwhile experiences. We enjoy congenial relationships with the Montreal Association for the Blind, our local CLSC's (commmunity health centers) in West Island, and community organizations, but maintain a strong independent identity of our own.

Comments

Hi, I was born with an eye birth defect. I have never been able to see at night and now at age 54 am still struggling with my low vision. I did work in my younger years at low paying jobs but not for long as my vision got worse I had to make choices and not because I wanted to. Now at 54 I feel exhausted, I feel I have stumbled through those years and have not down anything I would have wanted to do. Now today I feel alone more then ever and very tired. I have spent my life going to different doctors having eye surgery, trying to explain to others how the world is for me only to be told " be happy there are people worse of then you" . I totally realize that and I do feel bad for anyone hurting and would help anyway I could but only we as individuals know what we suffer and struggle with and I can honestly say I am tired .Please don't misunderstand I am thankful for what I have in my life would just like to know what my condition is. I have been told retinal coloboma, deformed eyes during birth, a list iof things I don't care to remember and a list of doctors I could no longer name.