CVI offers a way to see the world

Your sight. What would you do without it?

“Each year, more than 4,000 people from Atlanta and all over Georgia turn to the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) to help them adjust to – or improve – a life with limited or no sight. CVI is Georgia’s largest comprehensive, fully accredited private facility providing rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired,” according to their website.

CVI serves all ages and levels of vision loss. The youngest has been 1-week-old with the oldest in their late 90’s/early 100’s.

They have the facility and teachers to train or educate each individual the skills they need to succeed, offering core programs and services.

In a recent phone interview with the group’s president, Fontaine Huey, CVI is a result of George and Jean Henderson’s push and relentless search for stronger resources for their daughter, Anne.

Anne Henderson was born premature and spent weeks in an incubator. At that time (early 1950s), the effects of extra oxygen to the eyes were not known. As a result, she developed Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Over the nearly 60 years, CVI has evolved and is able to empower those in living a full life despite their vision level.

“That’s what we do. We are a training facility and teach people what those ‘work arounds’ are,” said Huey. “ Our clients acquire a very different skill set that allows them to access all of that information in the world around them that they need to do whatever it is that they are trying or want to do without eyesight.”

The BEGIN and STARS programs are designed for the youngest. BEGIN is dedicated for newborns up to five years. School-aged children fall under the STARS program.

Services for adults, clinics, support groups, along with a brick-and-mortar store together offer a comprehensive range to address the range of needs.

Once-a-month volunteers from the Georgia Association of Woodturners come to train and work with the adult clients teaching them how to use a lathe and turn wood.

CVI’s director of youth services told Huey, “that 90% of learning has a visual element. So as a species, we are hard wired to rely on our eyesight for a tremendous amount of information. When you are not able to pull in that information, it is not intuitive that you suddenly figure out other ways to get that same information.”

Night Visions 2019, a fundraiser, will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 25 at the Trolley Barn in Inman Park (963 Edgewood Ave., S.E., Atlanta). This event will include auctions, dinner, open bar and the opportunity to understand more of their work.

CVI Field Day (hosted by Jeanine Fittipaldi-Wert, Director of Camp Abilities, out of Columbus) is set for Saturday, April 27, at Coan Park (1530 Woodbine Ave., S.E., Atlanta) from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. This is an opportunity for both sighted and non to the fact that there are all types of sports than can be adapted to individuals with vision impairment.

For more information, tickets and/or registration, visit or call (404) 875-9011