Heather Napolitano started losing her vision seven years ago due to capillary non-perfusion, a condition in diabetic retinopathy where blood ceases to flow to certain parts of the retina. She is a patient of the Scheie Eye Institute and her physician, Tomas S. Aleman, MD recommended she see Dr. Erin Kenny at the William Feinbloon Vision Rehabilitation Center housed at The Eye Institute (TEI).

My vision is complicated, so it’s sometimes difficult to explain it to a new low vision center,” she said. “However, the instant I met Dr. Kenny I thought she’s incredible. This center is different. She asked me to describe on a daily basis what I can’t see and how it affects me. She asked for examples of what I wanted to be able to see better. She just wants to help people.”

“The first time I met Heather, I felt like we had a really good connection,” said Dr. Kenny. “She has two children and specific goals; she is very driven and motivated and has great support from her husband.” In fact, one of her goals was to be able to see her daughter dance on stage at her recital. “We were able to give her a hand held telescope to assist, which she was very happy with,” Dr. Kenny said. She was upset it took so long to find out about our services and said she wanted to be an advocate for getting out there what TEI can do for a person with low vision.”

“Dr. Kenny is very thorough; she fit me with sunglasses and made sure the lenses were correct. I’ve been losing my vision for seven years and wanted to know why I didn’t know about this place before. I feel like anyone in my situation should come to the Low Vision Center at The Eye Institute,” she said. She recently received new readers which have helped since she previously had to use readers with a hand held magnifier in addition to other devices she will receive next month.

Napolitano decided she would help to spread the word about the low vision services at the William Feinbloom Center. Along with her husband Dominick who both live in Rehoboth Beach, Del., the two co-founded in 2015 a fundraiser entitled SeeShore Fest which is held at the Starboard Restaurant, in Dewey Beach. The event has previously raised money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and this year, she included The Eye Institute as a beneficiary as well. Businesses, athletes, and individuals donate prizes from gift certificates to merchandise, ranging from $25 to $5,000 in value. This year’s Fest will be held on Saturday, August 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event raises money through raffles, games, t-shirts sales and activities for children. They have punch boards for $20 per punch which guarantees a winner each time. Prizes for the various raffles and games can range from a year’s supply of water to a cooler filled with Alaskan beer to a stay at a 36 person beach house.

“The connection I felt with The Eye Institute, I wanted to give back,” said Napolitano. “If someone else is dealing with what I am dealing with, I want them to know about the Low Vision Services at TEI. What they do is incredible.”

Learn More About SeeShore Fest