Low Vision Rehabilitation Club

Student ingenuity and faculty mentorship often intersect to create exciting new paths for education and leadership development. One needs to look no further than the new Low Vision Rehabilitation Club (LVRC) to see the great benefits that derive from this intersection in action.

Founding LVRC President and current optometry student, Kelsey Ferlin (’19), and one of the nation’s top low vision educators, LVRC Faculty Advisor Roanne Flom, OD, Professor of Clinical Optometry and Chief of the OSU Low Vision Rehabilitation Service, combined their interests to found the LVRC during the spring of 2017. The 53 member club is not only new to The Ohio State University College of Optometry, it is one of the first clubs at a school or college of optometry to focus exclusively on low vision. As stated in their mission, this unique venture seeks “to provide information to future optometrists so that each member can further facilitate a deep and personally useful understanding of the nature and implications of disabling visual impairments and of current and emerging management options.”

After nearly a year of activities and programs, the club has demonstrated a significant value-add to student education and an increased awareness of low vision as an integral part of optometry and as a potential career focus. The club has hosted a variety of events and speakers including YouTube star Sam Seavey. Seavey may be the best known YouTube personality related to visual impairment. His channel, The Blind Life, has over 6,300 subscribers and his top videos have gotten more than 170K views. In addition to testing products and providing honest opinions, Seavey provides “hacks” and general “slice of life” videos. Seavey’s visit to campus in February provided students with an important first-hand look at the lived experiences of low-vision patients and how they see – an experience that works in concert with low vision coursework and clinical training.

In addition to bringing low vision knowledge and awareness into the student community, leading the LVRC has been an enlightening experience according to club president Ferlin, who notes that “it has helped me grow tremendously in utilizing resources and networking both within and outside of the College of Optometry. It also has been very rewarding to work with our dedicated faculty and to see how much they commit to student success.” Dr. Flom, who has served as a mentor to many students over the years, also noted that as a first-time advisor to a student organization, “A little mentoring goes a long way with our terrific students; little things enable big things.”

Moving into next year, the club will welcome a new president, as Lindsay Page (’20) assumes this important leadership role. Page envisions the next year will bring more hands-on involvement with low vision equipment, shadowing opportunities, and opportunities to learn more about effective interactions with low vision patients. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!