Barbara Brown, COMT
Owner, Light and Magnify
Barbara Brown, President of Light and Magnify Technologies has a long history working with low vision people. She is the graduate of the Visual Disabilities program at Florida State University where she was trained as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. In this capacity she worked with Totally Blind individuals to teach them to walk safely in their home or work environment using a white cane as well as auditory and physical cues. It includes learning numbering systems, street grids, city bus routes and any other location or skill that a person needs to navigate in their environment.
After working a short time in the O&M field she became very interested in people with low vision. These people are not totally blind but do have visual impairments that prevent them from functioning easily. Barbara studied at the University of Florida Medical School, Dept of Ophthalmology to learn
Ophthalmic Technology and Orthoptics. This gave her the skills and knowledge necessary to work in ophthalmology offices and clinics to evaluate people with low vision and recommend low vision aids. She also earned a masters degree in Health Occupations Education to allow her to teach others about these skills.
She developed the low vision department at the Medical College of Georgia, Department of Ophthalmology and worked closely with the Occupational Therapy Department there as well. Together they created a low vision service to meet the optical and functional needs of low vision patients. She also started a community outreach program for parents of visually impaired children so they could network and come together monthly for a speakers program and socializing.
Over the years she taught at Tufts University Medical School and worked in private practice ophthalmology offices in Florida and Massachusetts, performing low vision evaluations when necessary. She was also active with the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology where she assisted in writing the test questions about low vision for the certification examinations. She also lectured widely and wrote articles published in medical journals to present the need for low vision care to ophthalmologists
She is the author of the Low Vision Handbook for Eyecare Professionals, volumes 1 and 2, published by SLACK, inc, a publisher of medical books. This book is used by individuals and by ophthalmic technology training programs to learn about Low Vision.
She continues to visit ophthalmologists and encourage them to refer their low vision patients, emphasizing the special needs of these patients so they can continue reading and performing daily tasks in order to restore their independence.