Christmas party held for vision-impaired - FOX 13 News

Christmas party held for vision-impaired

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Vision Rehabilitation Services held their annual Christmas party on Friday for clients with low or no vision and their families.

Around 50 to 60 people attended the party, including Raymond Lavoie and his wife of 57 years, Helena.

"She's legally blind.  She has been blind for a good ten years, her vision is slowly deteriorating," said Raymond Lavoie.

Tracey Sullivan is a former attorney who suffers from hereditary retinitis pigmentosa.

"This party was great. It was a great opportunity to meet others like me. When you are visually impaired it's hard to be social, especially in the beginning so it's good to see people socialize and have a good time," Sullivan said.

Also enjoying the fellowship were Bennie Mathews and his daughter Connie Stallworth.  Bennie suffers from macular degeneration.

Vision loss affects people in different ways.  Macular degeneration affects central vision. Diabetic retinopathy causes patches of vision loss. Glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa affect peripheral vision. Cataracts cloud ones vision.

Blindness is the loss of useful vision, though a haze may still be visible.

For many of the people at the party, favorite Christmas memories were easy to conjure up and blindness, which sometimes comes later in life, cannot distort them:

Musicians Rick Pitts, a VRS client, and Bob Fisher, whose wife works for the agency, love this gig because the people there are so appreciative

Among them was Frank Levine, who is remarkable for his perseverance. Born deaf, Frank met Helen Keller when he was a boy and she visited his native South Africa. Years later he would lose his vision, a dual sensory loss, but like Helen Keller, he has triumphed.

For more information on living with vision loss, visit:

Click the video to watch scenes from the party!

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