LOVRNET Revisits First LOVRNET Provider in Delaware

LOVRNET Revisits First LOVRNET Provider in Delaware


 Dr. Baruffi talking with Lion Marie Chew who is a LOVRNET Lion Volunteer Interviewer.




Dr. Baruffi talking with Lion Marie Chew who is a LOVRNET Lion Volunteer Interviewer.

Recently, several members of the Lions Low Vision Rehabilitation Network or LOVRNETmade a return visit to Dr. Daniel Baruffi’s, O.D., FAAO office in Wilmington, Delaware. They wanted to see in person how LOVRNET has improved the lives of Dr. Baruffi’s low vision patients.

Dr. Baruffi became the first LOVRNET provider in the State of Delaware in 2015. It was a perfect fit for Dr. Baruffi who focuses a part of his practice on low vision patients. This is the opposite of many eye providers who tend to shy away from them because they can be time consuming and complex to treat.

Dr. Baruffi said in a previous article on the LOVRNET website that his passion to serve low vision patients started even before he began working in the eye care field when he used to help his grandmother who suffered from macular degeneration. He would read cooking recipes to her and help when she wanted to cook.

 Dr. Baruffi examining a low vison patient in his Wilmington, DE officeFor those readers who are not familiar with LOVRNET, its goal is to increase the availability of low vision rehabilitation resources, as well as the quality and effectiveness of that rehabilitation. LOVRNET does this in large part, through the volunteer efforts of local Lions in Multiple District 22.

What makes part of the LOVRNET experience so meaningful for Dr. Baruffi’s patients is the interview experience that they go through prior to seeing him. Volunteer Lions are trained and certified on how to administer these computer-assisted telephone interviews. They are conducted prior to their visit to the clinician, and again after the patient has been discharged from low vision rehabilitation care.

These interviews provide detailed information about the patient’s vision problems, health issues, physical limitations, mobility and daily functioning, availability of assistance, work issues and driving/transportation issues. Without them the LOVRNET eye doctor would not have nearly the same amount of information about the patient because of time limitations during the clinic visit. Additionally, it is unlikely that a patient would provide as much detail if they were completing a paper survey prior to their appointment due to vision constraints. The information provided by these interviews helps Dr. Baruffi and other LOVRNET providers target rehabilitation and other services to their patients to make living with their low vision easier.

What is especially unique about LOVRNET is that Lions are trained to provide some of these rehabilitation services that an eye provider prescribes in the patient’s home. For example, Lions might go to a patient’s home to label items in braille, or help set the patient up with National Library for the Blind.

The role of the Lions in volunteering helps fill a void where there is a huge need and cannot be overstated. As recently as 2015, fewer than 40% of newly impaired low vision patients in Lions Multiple District 22 (Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia) received rehabilitation. This statistic is troubling when studies show that rehabilitation is highly effective in restoring the ability of visually impaired and blind to function in everyday life. Additionally, as the population ages, low vision is going to be an ever increasing problem. LOVRNET helps to correct this problem by matching patient’s needs with resources. More importantly, through the volunteer efforts of the Lions, patient’s needs are being met.

It is clear that LOVRNET has made a significant improvement in the quality of life for Dr. Baruffi’s patients. Since 2015 Many more eye providers in Delaware, Maryland, and D.C. area have joined, recognizing the impact it will have on the lives of their low vision patients. The success of the LOVRNET program can be attributed to the volunteer efforts of the Lions who tirelessly donate their time, money and other resources.

Dr. Daniel Baruffi is an Optometrist at Wilmington Family Eye Care located at 801 East Newport Pike Wilmington, Delaware, 19804. Dr. Baruffi also sees patients in Milford, Delaware once a month. To make an appointment with Dr. Baruffi please call (302) 999-1286.


By Ken Chew

(302) 547 - 3721

Past District Governor (PDG)

Lions Multiple District 22D

[email protected]