Eye Doctor Opening People's Eyes
His disability forced a major career change, one that has benefited thousands. Dr. John Shepherd since 2008 has been director of the Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. It's America's only low-vision clinic situated on a medical center campus, drawing patients from all over the Midwest.
"Low vision" occurs when a person experiences a major, permanent reduction in visual function that eyeglasses can't correct but special devises or aids can somewhat improve. The U.S. has more than 15 million people experiencing impaired vision. Shepherd's center (and others like it) offer this population such things as computer enhancement software, high-tech magnifiers, "talking" devices, and large-print books, calculators, and clocks, and practical help making in-home modifications.
In a telephone interview, 51-year-old ophthalmologist Shepherd said, "Because of chronic back and knee pain years ago, I was no longer able to do eye surgeries. Eventually, doctors were unable to fix my (back and knee) pain. I had to learn to live with it. There was a grieving in the loss I had. My passion for low-vision (work) arose out of this because it had a parallel for me."
As an ophthalmologist, Shepherd realized he couldn't do much long-term to help people with chronic, irreversible eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, stroke or retinitis pigmentosa. And he didn't have the low-vision training to help them live best they could with those conditions. He eventually received the training and accepted his current position, one that didn't require him to do surgery.
He said, "We've helped over 3,500 people since 2008. Our 'average' patient is in their 80s and has macular degeneration. We also help people with employment issues and children who need help with IEPs, for example." The Center has Nebraska and Iowa satellite locations. Shepherd regularly speaks at American Academy of Ophthalmology meetings and is a University of Nebraska Medical Center assistant professor.
The U.S. doesn't have many low-vision clinics because so few professionals have the training or a financial incentive to enter the field. He said, "Evaluating low-vision is a time-consuming endeavor. I usually spend at least an hour with patients and see perhaps only five a day. Before coming here, I used to see up to 30." He said readers can learn more about low-vision services by asking an eye doctor or their state service for the blind or visually impaired.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesBuying a Home is Still Better Than RentingRoseville, CA-- Home prices continue to rise faster than incomes and new employment, but it is still more cost efficient to own a home than to rent.
Parking Fees being levied at Hidden FallsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County's Hidden Falls Regional Park in North Auburn is a gem of a park. Unfortunately, parking can be hard to find, especially during weekends
$22.5 Million Approved for Placer County BuildingsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County Board of Supervisors approve an investment plan that will allocate a minimum of $4.5 million annually over the next five years
Placer SPCA Sees Success in Waiving Adoption FeesRoseville, Calif. - Adoption fees are waived for all animals, without exception, at the Placer SPCA during the month of August for its "full hearts, empty kennels" campaign
Classic Car Show in Grass Valley August 25(Grass Valley, CA) Cascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a classic car show on Friday, August 25
Warriors Set to Start 2017 Volleyball CampaignROCKLIN, Calif. - The William Jessup women's volleyball team will start the season this week hosting the Warrior Invitational
Podcasts for Fundraising Professionals and DonorsWith that goal in mind, Eric Hogue and David Pineschi of William Jessup University are regularly producing light-hearted podcasts each month
Mono County Events for Scenic Adventure SeekersMONO COUNTY, Calif. - After record-setting snowfall that refilled lakes and rivers, leaving glistening snow on high peaks and meadows below
Lowest Reported Gas Prices in RosevilleRoseville, CA- Gas prices in Roseville and Rocklin are holding relatively steady as residents shift from summer vacations back to school and work
WJU Volleyball signs Isabella MauricioROCKLIN, Calif. - The women's volleyball head coach, Shasta Millhollin announced the signing of Isabella Mauricio from Foster City, Calif. to the 2017-18 roster.
Foam Fest Craft Beer and Live Music Festival[Olympic Valley, Calif.] - Achieve Tahoe (formerly Disabled Sports USA Far West) will host its 28th annual "Foam Fest" fundraising event
The Great Banquet in Roseville October 7thROSEVILLE, Calif., - Joni and Friends Sacramento will hold its fourth bi-annual event titled "The Great Banquet" at Bayside Church in Roseville on October 7, 2017