Mission Low Vision Opens at Industries for the Blind


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 1, 2012) – Mission Health and Industries for the Blind (IFB) today announced the opening of Mission Low Vision at the IFB facility on Sardis Road in Asheville.  The center will serve as the new home for Mission Low Vision and will provide comprehensive vision rehabilitation services for people who are blind or visually impaired in western North Carolina, South Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

“We are excited about Mission Low Vision’s new state-of-the-art location that offers patient-centered convenience and the opportunity to work together with a local not-for-profit,” said Deanna Peltz, Executive Director of Practice Operations for Mission Health. “Relocating Mission Low Vision to IFB’s Asheville campus provides our patients with an enhanced continuum of care – both medical and rehabilitative.”

IFB expanded its Sardis Road facility to accommodate the new Center and the range of services that will be offered. The new Mission Low Vision center will serve patients with three low vision optometrists, a low vision technician and an occupational therapist certified in low vision. The center also has a retail store with an impressive assortment of low vision aids and adaptive technology for many different circumstances.

A key benefit of the new facility will be access to expanded services designed to promote independence for people who are blind or visually impaired. There is a training kitchen complete with adaptations to make cooking safer and easier, a computer training lab with the latest technology, a classroom for community and educational events, and an audio book lending library. Other services accessible from this location include Recycle for Sight project access and enhanced programming for visually impaired children that includes a local summer camp.

“IFB’s Community Low Vision Center in Winston-Salem has served thousands of people in the Triad, and working with Mission Health to now house Mission Low Vision here in Asheville is a dream come true,” said Randy Buckner, Director of Operations for the IFB Asheville facility. “One of the best things about having Mission Low Vision at our IFB facility is that patients see first-hand our employees who are blind leading productive, independent lives.”

For people who are blind or visually impaired, the continuum of care often begins with vision screenings conducted by the Lion’s Club, also housed at IFB. The Lion’s Club refers people identified with low vision to Mission Low Vision for specialty low vision exams and rehabilitative treatments and services. 

“This more visible center conveniently houses various service options for our patients who, for the most part, can no longer drive,” said Judy Davis, a technician at Mission Low Vision. “As someone who has low vision and uses many of the resources she shares with patients, I am looking forward to helping more people with low vision discover options to regain independence.”

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. In 2012 Mission Health was named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Thomson Reuters – the only health system in North Carolina to receive this recognition.

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates five hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in over 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 730 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care and is the busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital– the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 8,800 employees and 700 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina.

About IFB
Industries for the Blind (IFB) is a nonprofit organization providing employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired.  As the largest employer of people who are blind in the United States, IFB operates facilities in Winston-Salem, Asheville and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

The Asheville facility has 110 employees, 54 of whom are blind or visually impaired; 75 percent of the direct labor in this facility is handled by people who are blind. These are the first jobs many of these employees have held.