May 2010 was healthy vision awareness month, which provoked organizations to emphasize the importance of eye care maintainance, safety tips, and/or resources. One organization that seeks to promote eye health through education and retail of assistive technology, is Optelec U.S. Inc. Being an innovative company with several products for blind/visually impaired individuals, Optelec U.S. Inc. seeks to find solutions that will increase the quality of life for individuals with visual impairments.
Launching a national movement to promote ocular health awareness, Optelec U.S. Inc. created Vision Zone. Raising the bar for vision resources, Vision Zone is the first company to establish a live and virtual online community for eye professionals/consumers. In addition to creating online forums for the community, Vision Zone has produced a short film titled, “You’re Not Alone Anymore.” This film seeks to create public awareness about visual impairment and the various products/resources within society.
“You’re Not Alone” follows Brian, a man who is legally blind. The film starts off with Brian trying to order some food in a restaurant, but is unsuccessful and therefore, goes hungry. The film takes a comedic stand by having Brian’s stomach growl throughout the journey. It is not until the end of the film when Brian discover’s Vision Zone’s magnifiers, that he is able to order some enjoyable food and his stomach stops growling. The aim of the film is to illustrate the difficulties that people go through with low vision, such as autonomously ordering and eating at a restaurant.
In my opinion, “you’re not alone” is a great effort to bring about awareness of vision health through comedy. I truly believe that laughter is the medicine for the soul. In my life I incorporate comedy to lighten a situation and to bring a smile to someone elses face. Also, the statistics within the film were very informative and showed the impact of vision loss in our society. However, a few issues that arose for me during the film were first the depiction of blindness in the beginning of Brian’s journey. In my opinion, Brian appeared helpless because he couldn’t see the menu and didn’t know what to order. Visually impaired or sighted, typically when a person eats at a restaurant, he/she will order their usual or ask the server about their entrees. There are other ways to order off a menu besides having to physically look off a menu. I understand the efforts of Vision Zone to emphasize the impact of their magnifiers on a person’s life, but this depiction could spread a misconception about visually impaired individuals.
The second issue was the visual aspect of the film. My sister, Toni, had to narrate the visual representations, such as what was occurring during the silences. It would be helpful if there was some type of audio description so that blind/visually impaired individuals could independently watch the film. Audio descriptive features’ enable movie viewing to be more functional for people with visual impairments. Overall, awareness is the key to education, and Vision Zone is making a big stride to helping those impacted by vision loss. To learn more about Vision Zone, check out http://www.visionzone.org. Also, if you want to know more about Optelec U.S. Inc. and their products, check out http://www.optelec.com/.