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April 16, 2012

2012 Summit Forum on Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation held in China

  The SUNY College of Optometry (SUNY) and Wenzhou Medical College (WMC) sponsored the 2012 Summit Forum on Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation on March 28-29.  The Forum  was held on the campus of the School of Optometry and Ophthalmology at Wenzhou.  Over 180 practitioners from China, including 30 from WMC, attended the event which was one of the largest low vision meetings ever held in China.

The Summit was the culmination of a three-year project which, with generous funding from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, a New York-based charitable foundation, established a Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at Wenzhou Medical College's Eye Hospital.  SUNY faculty were instrumental in advising on various aspects of the Center's development including facility design, equipment, diagnostic and treatment procedures and administration.

Welcome remarks were given by Wenzhou Medical College's President, Qu Jia and SUNY's President, Dr. David Heath.  The speakers represented agencies of the Chinese government and spoke about the importance of vision rehabilitation in the current plan of the country and described the network of rehabilitation centers that are being established in each of the provinces of China.  Emphasis was given to the importance of pioneering work to develop a model for the delivery of services to the visually impaired at Wenzhou.  This includes children currently enrolled in schools for the blind who could benefit by the use of low vision devices and rehabilitative writing.

Participants from SUNY faculty included Dr. Richard Soden, Dr. Rebecca Marinoff and Dr. William O'Connell.   They were joined by faculty from Wenzhou's Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabiltation in presenting three simultaneous workshops that focused on administration of a low vision rehabiltiation program, advanced low vision techniques and vision rehabilitative procedures.

Mr. Richard Feinbloom, President of the Board of Trustees of the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the affiliated foundation of the SUNY College of Optometry, and President of Designs For Vision, Inc., also attended the Forum.  He reported that this was one of the largest  and most impressive low vision conferences in the world.