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The Blind Services Coalition of Kentucky presents the

Eye Opening Symposium

Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

This event is free and will be held virtually.


Fayette County Extension Office



This event is FREE and will be held virtually thanks in part to our sponsors.




Who should attend? (CEUs approved for ACVREP, Social Work and CRC) 

  • Social workers
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Physicians
  • Low vision specialists
  • Educators
  • Vision rehabilitation & education specialist
  • Persons who have low vision to no vision
  • Families and friends of persons with low vision to no vision 


9:10 a.m.: The State of Genetic Diagnosis and Therapy in 2020

10:00 a.m.: What You Need to Know about Orientation and Mobility

11:15 a.m.: Guide Techniques

12:15 p.m.: Updates on Assistive Technology

1:45 p.m.: Vision Loss; The Journey from Grief to Acceptance

3:00 p.m.: Visit Exhibits and Network

*Online Participants:  There will be time built in for breaks and lunch. 


The State of Genetic Diagnosis and Therapy in 2020

Ramiro S. Maldonado, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Kentucky

Many patients experience progressive degenerative blinding eye diseases. Current genetic diagnosis and therapy offers new hope for them. Participants will learn the benefits of undergoing genetic testing; what to expect from genetic testing; and what treatment options are available for their inherited disease.

What You Need to Know about Orientation and Mobility

Justin Kaiser, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Vision Impairment Program, College of Education, Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education, University of Kentucky

This session will provide an overview of orientation and mobility instruction and techniques with the goal of helping professionals, families and individuals living with visual impairment to better understand the importance of self-advocacy and independence.  Participants will be able to describe basic human guide techniques; explain the importance of O&M instruction; and use resources to share specific details related to orientation and mobility.  This session will focus on participants’ opportunity to reflect on this helpful information as it relates to their prior experiences.

Guide Techniques

Jennifer Roark, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Blind Services  and Kenny Williams, Community Volunteer

The presenters will demonstrate proper guide techniques in a professional environment.  Participants will learn how to interact with individuals with visual impairment; how to use guide techniques; and how to make professional settings inclusive of individuals with visual impairments

Updates in Assistive Technology for Visual  Impairment

Kristen Piery, O.D., Director of Optometry, University of  Kentucky

Are you aware of current available assistive technology and how it can benefit those with low vision?  This presentation  will briefly discuss new technology advances and how they might apply to those with visual impairment.  Participants will become familiar with the components and benefits of a low vision exam; with available technology and resources for low vision patients; and learn how to implement assistive technology for those living with visual impairment.

Vision Loss:  The Journey from Grief to Acceptance

Dr. Susan Ament, Ph.D, Peer Support Coordinator, Bluegrass Council of the Blind and Jeffrey N. Jackson, Psy.D, Licensed Psychologist Lexington VA Medical Center

In this session, presenters will walk participants through their own journeys of vision loss and life transformation, with an emphasis on navigating the stages of grief.  Participants will be equipped to describe the stages of grief and loss, especially as they apply to vision loss; explain at least three strategies for coping with anxiety and depression; learn techniques for finding acceptance; and identify the circumstances under which a mental health intervention would be indicated.


Additional Information: 

This event is presented by the following agencies:

Bluegrass Care Navigators, Bluegrass Council of the Blind, Fayette County Extension Office, Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Blind Services (formerly the Kentucky Office for the Blind),  Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Aging and Disability Services, VA Medical Center and Visually Impaired Preschool Services