Freeholders Proclaim October as Blindness Awareness Month

morris county freeholders
(l/r) Freeholders John Cesaro and Kathy DeFillippo, Vision Loss Alliance of NJ client Ursula Rucki and Executive Director Kris Marino, and Freeholders Doug Cabana, Christine Myers, Hank Lyon and Deborah Smith

MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County Board of Freeholders has designated this month, October 2017, as Blindness Awareness Month in Morris County, and has recognized Denville-based Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey as a statewide leader in offering programs and services for persons who have vision issues.

“This is not a world that fully sighted people know much about until they or a loved one are affected by vision loss — which is why the freeholder board is calling attention to the issues of vision by issuing this proclamation,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana in making the proclamation at this morning’s freeholder work session in Morristown.

The proclamation recognized the work of Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey, which has been based in Denville for more than 60 years, and provides the only comprehensive, nonresidential vision rehabilitation program for adults in the state.

It was accepted by Vision Loss Alliance of NJ Executive Director Kris Marino and Alliance client Ursula Rucki of Montville.

Formerly known as NJ Foundation for the Blind, the nonprofit changed its name to Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey in January to reflect what it is: an alliance of individuals, organizations and communities dedicated to helping adults who lose their sight learn to adapt and regain confidence.

“We at Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey are grateful to the Morris County freeholders for recognizing Blindness Awareness Month and honoring our nearly 75 years of empowering people with severe vision loss to help them regain independence,” said Executive Director Kris Marino said.

“The National Eye Institute projects a three-fold increase in cases of blindness alone by 2050 because the population is aging,” Marino said. “Greater attention and resources are needed to support the types of services we provide to adults who become blind or vision impaired.”

Vision Loss Alliance runs the only comprehensive, nonresidential vision rehabilitation program for adults in New Jersey. Programs deliver substantial, measurable benefits, including fall and accident prevention, greater overall physical and mental health, and the use of tools, resources, and strategies to enrich lives and promote socialization.

The nonprofit is hosting Dining in the Dark, an event that will give guests a glimpse of what it’s like to live without sight while they enjoy a gourmet meal. Dining in the Dark will be held Monday, October 16 at the Hyatt Regency in Morristown. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Marino noted the growing need for services because cases of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss are increasing as the population ages. In New Jersey alone, blindness and profound vision loss affect more than 130,000 adults over age 35, according to state statistics.

The National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, projects a three-fold increase in cases of blindness alone by 2050.

For more information on Vision Loss Alliance, click here.