New Short Film on Visual Impairment Supports VisionZone’s Low Vision and Eye Health Movement

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Optelec teams up with ‘a bick/antzis thing’ and blind comedian to entertain, educate, and strengthen public knowledge about vision disability through VisionZone short film

VisionZone is a new nationwide movement to promote ocular health awareness through a blended interactive experience, social networking, and major corporate/non-profit partners.

Let’s create this title wave of people who are concerned with ocular health and want to see people live full lives even though they have a visual impairment.

Optelec U.S. Inc., a world leader in innovative and life changing assistive technologies for the blind and visually impaired, has teamed up with Film Directors, Producers and Writers Drew Antzis and Tamara Bick of ‘a bick/antzis thing’ who are most notable for their work with the acclaimed Funny Or Die Web site, to create a short film for Optelec’s new nationwide movement to promote ocular health awareness called VisionZone.

The groundbreaking short film “VisionZone: You’re Not Alone Anymore” offers an atypical perspective on disability and vision loss through the use of truth and comedy. While entertaining and educational, it is designed to show mainstream audiences that low vision is not easily recognizable, and strengthens public knowledge about visual impairment and available resources.

Andre Hardy, president of Optelec U.S. Inc. and VisionZone, had an initial goal behind the VisionZone film, “Let’s create this title wave of people who are concerned with ocular health and want to see people live full lives even though they have a visual impairment.”

Today more than 16 million people in the U.S. report some form of visual impairment and that number is expected to double by 2030 as the aging population brings rising rates of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases.

The film’s loveable star is Brian Fischler, 37, a nationally recognized, legally blind, stand-up comedian and Founder of the non-profit organization Laugh for Sight. Fischler began losing his vision from Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 17, and like many people with low vision, upon first glance it’s not noticeable that he is legally blind. The film was shot throughout San Diego, Calif., including footage from Acqua al 2, a popular Italian restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter.

“Hoping that it (VisionZone film) opens a lot more doors to people who are affected by visual problems and are not aware of all the support networks and the technological tools out there,” stated Fischler.

“VisionZone: You’re Not Alone Anymore” is directed by Drew Antzis, one of the most prolific filmmakers on Funny or Die. He has directed more than 70 comedy viral videos, including the infamous “The Landlord” with Will Ferrell; one of the most highly watched viral videos ever to hit the Web.

“When healthcare is talked about, ocular health isn’t in that conversation,” stated Antzis. “Working with Optelec was enlightening, and forced me to become aware of an issue that I personally didn’t know much about. This film captures a balance between humor and education.”

“Optelec took a risk by producing this film because we want the general public to start talking about vision loss and low vision; it is astounding how many people are uninformed about this critical health issue,” further stated Hardy. “If we (industry leaders) don’t make this issue more apparent, nobody will. We hope utilizing unconventional outreach tactics will help broaden the awareness as most people only know about visual impaired because they or their family member suffers from it.”

The film introduces VisionZone, recently launched to provide the low vision community’s first live and virtual eye-health resource designed to bridge the gap between eye disease, prevention, awareness and product solutions.

For more information visit, http://www.visionzone.org or call 800-335-7970. Follow daily updates via @VisionZoneOrg on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

About VisionZone
“Connect. Learn. Live. You’re Not Alone Anymore.” VisionZone is the low vision community’s first live and virtual eye-health resource designed to bridge the gap between eye disease, prevention, awareness and product solutions. VisionZone Live and VisionZone.org connect the eye care, visually impaired and caretaker communities through a blended interactive experience and major corporate and non-profit partners, including Optelec U.S. Inc., which is spearheading the movement. For more information, visit http://www.VisionZone.org.

About Optelec U.S. Inc.
Optelec U.S. Inc. was founded in 1985 and is recognized as the worldwide market leader in providing innovative solutions for the blind, visually impaired and learning disabled. In January 2007, Tieman U.S., Holding Company to Optelec US Inc., spun off ShopLowVision.com as a subsidiary company to provide a one-stop-shop for optical, non-optical and daily living aids for eye care professionals and consumers. For more information, visit http://www.optelec.com.

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Courtney Berg

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