EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: There Is Hope For People With Vision Problems, Says Lighthouse International Chief Mark Ackermann

Mark G. Ackermann, president and CEO of Lighthouse International speaking at LightYears 2010, Lighthouse's annual gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Mark G. Ackermann, president and CEO of Lighthouse International speaking at LightYears 2010, Lighthouse's annual gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. Photo Credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

Interview by Ibrahim Dabo

NEW YORK CITY, NY—Lighthouse International, a leading non-profit organization founded in 1905, is dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. On Nov. 22, the organization hosted the 2010 LightYears Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. The star-studded event attracted celebrities across the U.S. to salute the Art of Film.

Mark G. Ackermann, president and CEO of Lighthouse International, took special time off during the gala to talk exclusively to Ib’s Blog about his organization and the work they are doing to help people fight vision problems.

“Tonight we are at LightYears, which is the annual gala for Lighthouse International,” Ackermann told Ib’s Blog.

“We are very fortunate to have 400 of our closest friends here this evening who are celebrating with us the successes of the Lighthouse over the years, the work that we do with those who are blind and those who have low vision.

Lighthouse International President and CEO Mark Ackermann

Lighthouse International President and CEO Mark Ackermann speaking at LightYears. Photo Credit: Ibrahim.

“They are helping to support not only our clinical and rehabilitative work, but helping to support our research and all the other work that we do to help those with low vision and blindness.”

Founded more that 100 years ago, Lighthouse International does more than just research or helping with prevention and treatment. Ackermann talked about the success of the organization and some of its programs.

L-R: Roger O. Goldman (chairman of Lighthouse International Board), Gena Roland (actress), and Mark Ackermann (president and CEO of Lighthouse International). Photo Credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

L-R: Roger O. Goldman (chairman of Lighthouse International Board), Gena Roland (actress), and Mark Ackermann (president and CEO of Lighthouse International). Photo Credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

“We have provided care for those who are blind and those with low vision all of these years. We have clinical services and rehabilitative services. We have pre-kindergarten and nursery school; we have a school of music which is a really wonderful school. It is the only school in the country for individuals who are blind or have vision problems,” Ackermann said.

“We do cutting-edge research and we have professional education. So we have a wide array of services. We have about a $35 million annual operating budget and continue to grow the organization.”

Ackermann said no matter what vision challenges people suffer from, there is a glimmer of hope.

“For anyone who has vision difficulties, whether they are blind or suffer from macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, or any of the diseases that renders one to begin losing their vision, there is hope. There is great hope,” Ackermann said.

“We are doing a lot of work to make sure that research is done, that the finest clinical care is provided and anyone from any part of the country is welcome to come to Lighthouse International in New York.”

Lighthouse International can be located on 111 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022 or by visiting their website at http://www.lighthouse.org/.

For those who are challenged with vision problems and need help, “You can reach out to us at any time and we will provide you with the finest quality care or help you find a similar organization in New York City,” Ackermann said.

Ibrahim Dabo (Ib's Blog founder) and honoree Robert Osborne (actor and Primetime Host, Turner Classic Movies). Photo Credit: Ryan McCune.

Ibrahim Dabo (Ib's Blog founder) and honoree Robert Osborne (actor and Primetime Host, Turner Classic Movies). Photo Credit: Ryan McCune.

Robert Osborne, host Turner Classic Corporation and philanthropist; Charles S. Cohen, President and CEO of Cohen Brothers Reality Corporation and philanthropist Clo Cohen; Dr. Madeleine Sherak, educator, film producer, and philanthropist; Tom Sherak, Revolution Consulting Services, philanthropist, and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, were all honored at the gala.

Others names on the attendance list included Gena Rowlands, Chita Rivera, Arlene Dahl, Elke and Ben Gazzara, Barbara Taylor Bradfod and Jane Powell.

About Ib Dabo

Ib Dabo, founder and executive editor of Ib Talk Online, is a writer, journalist, photographer, and communications and IT leader whose mission is to inspire and work with people to make a difference in our world. Visit his official website - www.IbDabo.com - to learn more. Follow @IbDabo on Twitter and also @IbTalkOnline on Twitter.