Joe Lovett is a television and film producer who has traveled the world, interviewed luminaries in a variety of fields and won a slew of awards.
Joe also has glaucoma, and he is doing everything he can to slow down the progression of his disease, which robs an estimated 4.5 million people around the world of their vision.
He admits he’s afraid, but says, “My way of dealing with fear and with terror is to confront it.” And confront he has, by putting his skills to work creating the documentary film “Going Blind,” which chronicles his own fight to preserve his sight and the lives of six other people coping with low vision or blindness.
The film’s topic is timely and important. According to Lighthouse International, in the United States 1.3 million people are legally blind and another 8.7 million are visually impaired. An estimated 37 million people worldwide have lost their vision.
“Going Blind” interweaves Joe’s own story, as he does what he can to slow down the course of his disease through medication and surgeries, with accounts of six people of very different ages and walks of life coping with profound or total vision loss.
The film profiles Jessica Jones, a young teacher who lost her sight to diabetic retinopathy; Emmet Teran, a pre-teen with low vision from albinism; Ray Kornman, a young man facing complete vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa; Peter D’Elia an architect in his 80s fighting his second battle against macular degeneration; Pat Williams, a legally blind New Yorker struggling to find her place in both the sighted and visually impaired communities, and Steve Baskis, a young Army veteran blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
My company, Acucela, is deeply committed to finding a cure for glaucoma, macular degeneration and other blinding eye diseases. We hope that it won’t be too long before filmmakers like Joe Lovett will be hard-pressed to find people who have lost their sight to these diseases; but, in the meantime, I applaud his efforts to illuminate the world of low vision and blindness and at the same time encourage all of us to take action to preserve, prolong and maximize the precious gift of sight.