Finding encouragement and connection through Vision Forward support programs
On March 20, 2013, Don Klein suddenly became blind. His vision loss was not the gradual change in vision experienced by many. He suffered from bleeding in his eyes as a result of a prescription; doctors performed four surgeries trying to stop the damage, but they were not successful.
Don became lethargic and bored, as he could no longer enjoy his usual activities. “It was really tough on my wife, because she had to do things that I used to do,” says Don. The Kleins heard about Vision Forward from a friend and signed up for the five-week How to Manage Life with Changing Vision classes.
The class is for people who are newly experiencing changing vision or living with progressive vision loss. It’s a chance to network with others in a similar situation and find support on how changing vision impacts your Identity, career, life activities, and family relationships.
The Changing Vision class was filled with individuals of various ages at different stages of vision loss. Seeing he was not alone and that all these people led active, vital lives encouraged Don.
Then, one day, Erica Weise, Vision Forward Social Worker, gave him homework: do the dishes. “That was the turning point. She really pushed him off the couch,” says Don’s wife, Gabriella.
“When we had our fifth and last session, I was raving about the changes that had happened,” says Gabriella. “They constituted a life-changing experience for us.”
Now Don, while still impacted by his vision loss, is more active. “I did the dishes last night and made the bed this morning.” The Klein’s encourage anyone at any stage of changing vision to explore options and network with organizations like Vision Forward. “People should know what’s coming and how to handle it. They might not know when it’ll happen, but knowing what to do in advance is important.”
Don says, “It was beneficial learning that everyone has the same fears, and how they’re coping. Vision Forward was the greatest thing since I lost my vision.”