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2017 Low Vision Conference: Students with Progressive Vision Loss

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

James C. Durkel Conference Center

Austin, Texas


Register Now!

This conference is the 3rd in a series of conferences focusing on low vision.  This year’s event will address children with progressive vision loss.  Progressive vision losses occur for a variety of reasons, but are often associated with specific syndromes or occur as a result of medical conditions.

A visual impairment that is a progressive condition brings an unpredictable factor to picturing the days and years ahead and planning to address what the loss of vision will mean.  Questions related to literacy, orientation and mobility, social and emotional issues are among the many challenges faced by the student, family and the professionals supporting them. This conference will provide information about various causes of progressive vision loss, new treatment and research, support for families and strategies and solutions for TVIs and COMS. The sessions outlined below are developed for factual content as well as recognizing the very poignant nature of discussing progressive conditions, including those with additional health concerns.





One Family’s Story

One family will share their story of receiving a progressive vision loss diagnosis and reflect on the path they have traveled in both personal and educational needs.

An Overview of Progressive Eye Conditions

Dr. David Lewerenz, OD, FAAO, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO

Dr. Lewerenz specializes in low vision rehabilitation, which provides assistance for patients who have lost vision from an eye or brain condition or injury. In this session he provides an overview of progressive eye conditions, including explanation of changes in the eye, anticipated pattern of progression considering stage of development, and examples of optometric treatment.

An Overview of Treatment and Current Research

Dr. Saradha Chexal, MD, Retina Consultants of Austin, Austin, TX

Dr. Chexal specializes in the medical management of all vitreoretinal diseases. She received additional specialized training in ocular genetics and hereditary eye conditions. An ophthalmologist provides an overview of treatment and current research, including examples of ongoing clinical trials, direction of scientific and technological investigation, and outcomes of published work.


Working Lunch

A box lunch will be provided followed by a virtual tour of internet resources focusing on conditions or progressive vision loss. These resources include medical information, support networks for the person with the visual impairment and their family, and strategies for adjusting to continuing changes in vision.

1st breakout session

The afternoon program provides parent or educator focused sessions.


Q & A with the Doctor

During this time parents will have the opportunity to speak with Dr. Lewerenz in this informal question and answer session.

VI Professionals:

Making Decisions about VI Services

VI Professionals will join Emily Calvert, TVI and Mary Shore, COMS, for a discussion about VI services for students with progressive vision loss to include decisions on learning media, moving to braille or initiating instruction, and use of the cane for travel.


2nd breakout session

Parents will choose one session: 

Session A - Participating in Decision-making with your IEP Team

Parents will participate in a discussion, led by Cyral Miller, Outreach Programs Director and Edgenie Bellah, Family Engagement Specialist, about VI services. This will include such issues as decisions about using print, moving to braille, and using the travel cane or other mobility devices.

Session B - Progressive Vision Loss with Degenerative Medical Conditions

This session will focus on issues for students who have progressive vision loss with additional degenerative medical conditions. This session will be led by Marnee Loftin, LSSP, and Rachel Simpson, Family Engagement Specialist. Parents will discuss issues related to programming when the child's condition degenerates over time.  

VI Professionals:  

Special Considerations in Serving Students with Degenerative Medical Conditions

Emily Calvert, TVI, and Mary Shore, COMS will lead a discussion about special considerations in services for the student with visual impairments in the face of progressive vision loss with a degenerative medical condition.


Registration fee: $50 if registered before April 1, 2017 and $75 beginning April 1, 2017.

Assistance is available to help adult family members with registration and travel costs including transportation, lodging and meals upon request.

Register now!


For more information, please contact Dr. Cindy Bachofer at 512-206-9434 or email .