No. 285

The Roman statesman, orator and author Cicero (106-43 BC) had it right when he said, “Sight is keenest of all our senses.” If you accept this as being true then it must also follow that it’s the one we would miss the most if we lost it. I’ve been blessed with good eyesight all my life but now rely on glasses to read when the print is small. My participation in our local Lions Club has given me a greater awareness and appreciation for the value of sight because helping the blind and visually impaired is our mission. If you have good vision, you are truly blessed and making a trip to the Lions World Services For The Blind is something that would touch your heart. When you see dozens of blind people who are being trained for a useful and productive life, it is a good feeling to be a small part of it.
The reason I am sharing this with you is because the vast majority of people in America with vision problems are not totally blind but often suffer because they do not know where to get help, apart from a visit to the eye doctor. A national survey on vision loss clearly indicates that self-reported functional vision impairment among middle-aged and older Americans is far greater than previously estimated. One in six American adults, 45 years of age or older, representing 13.5 million people report some form of vision impairment even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.
If this is your condition or that of someone in your family, I have some good news for you. The statistics I just reported were compiled by Lighthouse International, formerly the Lighthouse For The Blind. Sometime back I got a phone call from Daniel Horton who told me about the mission of Lighthouse International and the valuable services they are providing to people with vision problems. It was founded in 1905, headquartered in New York City and is a not-for-profit organization and depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations.
The important work they do includes: Helping people overcome vision impairment. Training the professionals who serve people with vision loss. Increasing the knowledge base on vision impairment and vision rehabilitation. Providing the tools to help professionals practice and make life easier for those with impaired vision. Championing inclusion in mainstream society for people who are visually impaired worldwide.
Here is also a source for all those products that visually impaired persons need but may not know where to get them. A few of the items include, “talking watch, alarm clock, blood pressure monitor, heart rate monitor, cordless phone with big button keypad, king size wooden chess table and pieces, no-hands magnifier & lamp, high visibility red luggage set, easy-to-read holiday greeting cards and many, many more products to help people with vision problems.
Lighthouse International has created a nationally distributed catalog containing easy-to-see and easy-to-use lifestyle-related products to help people in their day-to-day activities. These products can be ordered anytime by calling 1-800-829-0500, or by visiting their online catalog at There are also three Lighthouse Store locations in the greater New York area, including a flagship store in Manhattan.
I try to be very careful when endorsing an organization or a product in my column. First, I want to make sure that it is legitimate and also that a great number of my readers can be helped by it. I sincerely believe this organization meets this criteria and I hope if this is your need that you will take advantage of the services they provide. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)