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Symposium Focuses on Creating Supportive Environments for Persons with Low Vision

Thursday, August 23, 2012  
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Learn the latest state-of-the-art theory and practices for designing for people with low vision from the designers, users, clients and low vision medical specialists who focus on this growing segment of the population at the Low Vision Design Committee (LVDC) Symposium. With the theme Creating Supportive Environments for Persons with Low Vision, the LVDC Symposium will be held Thursday, January 10, in Washington, D.C., as part of Building Innovation 2013—The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo.

Defined as "chronic visual impairments that cause functional limitations (such as increased difficulty with reading, mobility, visual motor activities, interpreting visual information) or disability,” low vision impacts one out of every eight Americans.

The National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health estimates that more than 38 million Americans age 40 and older currently experience blindness, low vision or eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cone rod dystrophy, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts—all of which can cause low vision. More than 50 million people are expected to experience low vision by the year 2020, yet the nation’s building accessibility standards do not mandate requirements.

To best serve persons with low vision, a number of disciplines must work in harmony to define and then create supportive environments. The LVDC assembled this symposium to provide the latest research, theory and practice to help the building community understand how to build environments that meet the needs of persons with low vision.

This symposium will help demonstrate that, as is true for many aspects of accessibility, designing for persons with low vision can create environments that are more universally user-friendly.

The following presenters and topics are currently scheduled:

  • James E. Woods, PhD, PE, committee chair and indoor environments consultant, will kick off the symposium. He will present an overview of the committee’s work and the multidisciplinary nature of creating physical environments for the elderly and other low-vision populations.
  • Marsha Mazz, director, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board; Vijay Gupta, PE, chief mechanical engineer (ret.), General Services Administration Public Buildings Service; and Frederick Krimgold, PhD, director, Disaster Risk Reduction Program, Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, will share their first-hand experiences, personal and professional, in working and living with low vision.
  • Stuart Knoop, FAIA, co-founder and vice president (ret.), Oudens and Knoop Architects PC, will provide the architectural and design perspective. He will outline architectural considerations, including artificial lighting, daylighting and wayfinding, that can greatly increase spatial comfort and functionality for seniors and others with low vision.
  • Dennis W. Siemsen, OD, Mayo Clinic Department of Ophthalmology, and Suleiman Alibhai, OD, Low Vision Services, PLC., will provide the medical perspective. They will explain the different types of low vision and highlight how supportive environments can help.
  • Eunice Noell Waggoner, IES, LC, president, Center of Design for an Aging Society; Gregg Guarnaccia, IES, LC, Doubledge Design LLC; and Robert Dupuy, LC, IALD, associate principal, Interface Engineering, will address the power of lighting. They will discuss how important proper lighting in facilities is for the low vision and aging population.
  • Lam Vu, electrical engineer, Construction Facilities Management, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Tom Williams, architect – national accessibility officer, Public Buildings Service, General Services Administration, will discuss how one pioneering client, the federal government, is recognizing the need for low vision standards and supportive design.

In addition, the presenters will participate in a panel and audience question and answer session on the topic, "Creating Consensus: Where do we go from here?"

Online registration opens September 1.

Get the most up-to-date information on scheduling and events for the LVDC Symposium and Building Innovation 2013.

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