According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are 7.2 million people in the United State who are visually impaired. If you are experiencing vision loss there are many organizations, professionals, and resources available to assist in making daily life easier to navigate. You should find that at least one library in your state offers talking books or large print publications. Many banks offer large-print checks. Utility services like phone and power may offer large print billing.
At the very center of an active and independent life with low vision is vision rehabilitation. Due to an increase in need, the U.S. Government has recognized the important benefits of these services, and Medicare now covers many aspects of vision rehabilitation. This service is usually provided by a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist in conjunction with your Eye Care Professional. Besides evaluating your current eye condition, a specialist can assist with daily living training and suggest tools to help you remain independent so that you may continue to enjoy the activities you most value in life. These tools include:
- Lighting and task lamps
- Adaptive devices such as large-print telephone keypads, talking clocks
- Large print/high contrast kitchen items such as measuring cups and cutting boards
- Magnifiers (optical or electronic)
Listed below are just a few of the many organizations that concern themselves with some aspect of low vision. These resources are a great informational starting point and may provide you or a loved one with some helpful guidance.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology (www.aao.org) Research, medical information, and assistance in finding a physician
- American Academy of Optometry (www.aaopt.org) Provides a wide range of information, advice and resource links
- American Macular Degeneration Foundation (www.amdf.org) – A non-profit organization providing public education and resources specifically related to Macular Degeneration
- Lighthouse Guild (www.lighthouseguild.org) Lighthouse International fights vision loss through prevention and intervention
- Lions Club (www.lionsclubs.org) This website will provide phone numbers for clubs near you and learn more about Lions Clubs Vision Programs
- National Eye Institute (www.nei.nih.gov) An organization supporting vision research and education programs that protect and prolong vision.