Description & History
Founded in 1905, Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization that helps people of all ages who are at risk for, or are experiencing, vision loss. We provide services, research and education, and advocate to help people with low vision and blindness live safe, independent and productive lives.
The World Health Organization estimates that 161 million people worldwide have a vision impairment: 37 million are blind and 124 million have partial sight. Without intervention, the number of people who are visually impaired could almost double by 2020.
More services will be needed as the baby boomer generation ages, people live longer and conditions that cause vision loss such as diabetes affect even the very young. In the future, it's very likely that you or someone you love may face vision loss due to macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes-related eye disease or cataracts.
The Lighthouse recommends that people see an eye care specialist first, but when vision loss interferes with a person's ability to function, we can help.
Lighthouse International offers vision rehabilitation services that help people cope with vision loss, travel safely, take care of their homes, meet career objectives and enjoy leisure activities. Services include orientation and mobility training (helping people travel safely), vision rehabilitation teaching, counseling, low vision exams, youth and career services, a pre-school and community music school, and adaptive computer training.
Lighthouse International is the pioneer in the treatment of people with low vision. In 1953, we established the largest low vision service in the US, and our model for diagnosing and treating people with low vision remains the international prototype today.
We provide continuing education programs for eye and healthcare professionals, and conduct extensive public awareness campaigns about the prevention and treatment of eye diseases. Our Research Institute studies the effects of vision loss on people's lives, and seeks new ways to identify vision problems early.
Advocacy efforts promote equal access to health care, jobs and mainstream society for people with impaired vision.
In the next 100 years, Lighthouse International will redouble our efforts to save people's sight and teach people how to live better with vision loss. We will act as a catalyst to advance the prevention of eye diseases, and advocate for treatments and cures.
Support for the Lighthouse comes from individual donors, foundations and corporations. In addition, we receive government grants from organizations such as the National Eye Institute, the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health, among others.
For more information about eye diseases, resources and locating low vision professionals near you, call Lighthouse International's toll-free number at 1-800-829-0500 or visit www.visionconnection.org. For information about the Lighthouse, visit www.lighthouse.org.
Lighthouse International was founded in 1905 by Winifred and Edith Holt - 2 sisters who were wealthy and looking to do some good.
By chance they happened upon a group of visually impaired young men attending a concert and went to speak with them and that started their introduction into helping people with vision impairments.
We are the only vision rehabilitation agency that runs a Research Institute devoted to vision research in the U.S.