Haroon Ghori, a high school student, receives scholarship for his winning low vision aid awareness essay at National Albinism meeting
Albinism causes a range of challenges for individuals who are affected, not the least of which is visual impairment. Seeing at a distance, reading signs, the blackboard, seeing friends, the teacher, TV and driving can all be challenging. Regular eyeglasses or contacts are usually of modest value. Low Vision Aids which magnify the image allow many children and adults with vision loss to see virtually as well as their normally-sighted companions. However, the availability of low vision aids is not well known and children especially may not learn about them for years after they may have been beneficial to maximize their academic, vocational and social success.
In an attempt to increase awareness of the benefit of low vision aids for individuals with albinism, Ocutech, the developer of eyeglass-mounted telescopic devices for the visually impaired, sponsored an essay contest at the 2012 NOAH Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri in July. Attendees were invited to submit essays describing how low vision aids have impacted their lives. The winning essay by Haroon Ghori, a 16 year old high school student from Sacramento, CA was selected by a committee appointed by NOAH and received a $500 scholarship award from Ocutech. In addition, NOAH received an equal donation from Ocutech in Haroon’s honor.
In his winning essay, entitled “How Low Vision Aids Impact My Life,” Haroon describes how his low vision aids helped bolster his independence, successes, and ability to function as though he did not have a visual impairment. With their use he began to excel in math and reading, quickly rising to the top of his class in subjects he had previously done poorly in. He says, “Visual aids have played a monumental role in my physical and social life. Largely due to my use of visual aids, my independence and self-esteem have increased, therefore influencing my successes in academics, athletics, and extracurricular opportunities. Using visual aids has shown me that my albinism and visual impairment need not inhibit my success in any activity.”