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ABVI Celebrates Dr. Gwen Sterns' 40th Anniversary

Aug 10, 2018

Surrounded by her family, Dr. Sterns uses a shovel to turn over dirt for the tree planting ceremony.In 2018, Low Vision Center Medical Director Dr. Gwen Sterns celebrated her 40th year of service with the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), a mission program of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes.

In recognition of this milestone achievement for Dr. Sterns, ABVI held a celebration highlighted by a tree planting in her honor in the organization's Outdoor Mobility and Training Area.

Low vision has been a passion of Dr. Sterns since she was a medical student. While completing her medical degree in Ophthalmology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Dr. Sterns included low vision in her studies. At the time, few ophthalmologists focused on low vision. they felt their mission was only to save vision, not to maximize any remaining vision.

In 1978, Dr. Sterns came to ABVI as the Medical Director of the Low Vision Center. One of her challenges was overcoming the reluctance of local eye doctors to make referrals to ABVI. They were concerned that ABVI would steal their patients away. Dr. Sterns was able to help them understand that ABVI's Low Vision Clinic and vision rehabilitation services complimented what they did with their patients and patients would still need to see their eye doctor regularly. ABVI now counts some local eye doctors among the organization's strongest supporters.

"One reason Gwen is so special to me and to ABVI is her desire to educate others. She is so passionate about Low Vision services and she has traveled all over the world teaching others about it," said Gidget Hopf, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes' president and CEO.