Online Resources for Sight-Impaired Seniors
In the United States, there are over 20 million people who are sight-impaired. According to the Family Caregivers Alliance, “Nearly 3.5 million Americans over 40 have some degree of vision loss, most commonly from age-related conditions.”
Although it may feel very overwhelming at times, with the right information, resources and support, many seniors with blindness or vision impairment have found the condition to be manageable.
Resources for Sight-Impaired Seniors
If you have a senior loved one who is sight-impaired, you may know first-hand about the challenges of finding affordable resources.
Here is an inclusive list of many online sources that offer education, products and support to help you and your loved one better cope with the many challenges of blindness or low vision:
Offers a wide range of online resources for seniors who are visually impaired. The mission of the American Council of the Blind is to help increase the security, independence, opportunity, and overall quality of life for those who are blind or visually impaired.
A program that specializes in helping older adults who are visually impaired to remain independent at home for as long as possible. The program offers practical advice on tasks that are difficult to perform, due to vision loss. Audio and video recordings are available that offer tips on things such as:
- Identifying medications
- How to safely navigate the stairs
- How to use the vision accessibility features on iPhones or iPads
- How to live well with low vision
- Quarterly webinars with the latest news and information on vision impairment
A free talking book library service for those with temporary or permanent blindness or low vision. NLS offers books on audio or in braille through a national network of cooperative libraries. The books can be mailed to your address (for free) or there’s also a free, instant download option.
A toolkit for those who are new to vision loss. The “Getting Started” toolkit was created to help those with vision impairment deal with some of the challenges of vision loss. The kit also offers special services and products to assist those with vision loss, in everyday life. At VisionAware.org, you will find blogs with the latest vision loss news about blindness and medical conditions and access to information from vision rehabilitation professionals to help you cope with the many issues related to vision loss. Tips include:
- How to make print more readable
- Keeping fit and having fun
- Meeting a person with vision loss
- Questions to ask your healthcare provider
- Safety tips in the bathroom and kitchen
- Technology tips (and products)
There is also an audio version of the VisionAware “Getting Started” kit.
Provides educational information about blindness and low vision
2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102
New York, NY 10001
1-800-AFB-LINE or (232-5463)
Offers blind-related and low vision products and adaptive technology.
5650 S. Windermere St.
Littleton, CO 80120
Offers voice-enabled products such as a bar code reader and ScripTalk (a talking pharmaceutical reader).
1845 W. Hovey Ave. Normal, IL 61761
Offers assistive and adaptive technology for those who are blind or have low vision or learning disabilities. Products include screen reading software for the blind and magnification software for people with low vision.
11800 31st Ct. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716-1805
Sales & Information Phone: 1-800-444-4443 (within US)
Sales & Information Phone: 1-727-803-8000 (worldwide)
All Products: 1-727-803-8600
Offers products for those who are visually impaired.
P.O. Box 9022
Hicksville, NY 11802-9022
Toll-free Sales: 1-800-537-2118
Technical Support: (516) 937-1848
Specializes in products for the blind, visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, offers low vision aids, hearing helpers, daily living aids, products for independence, resources and information designed to help regain independence.
145 River Rock Dr.
Buffalo, NY 14207
Offers over 4,000 high and low-tech products to help with daily living for those with special needs.
42 Executive Blvd.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
1-800-522-6294 (to order)
1-631-752-0521 (for information)
Offers a list of state agencies that can assist with adapting your living environment, learning mobility methods and learning about devices to assist with everyday living needs.
4733 Bethesda Ave., Suite 330
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: (301) 654-4885 (5)
Provides information on Glaucoma.
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 700
New York, NY 10038
A program of the nonprofit Discovery Eye Foundation
6222 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 260
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 623-4466 or 1-888-430-9898
Organizations That May Provide Financial Aid
22512 Gateway Center Dr.
Clarksburg, MD 20871
P.O. Box 429098
San Francisco, CA 94142-9098
300 W. 22nd St.
Oak Brook, IL 60523-8842
1099 E. Champlain Dr., Suite A
Fresno, CA 93720
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
Organizations That May Help Find Low-Vision Specialists
P.O. Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120-7424
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63141
Just about everyone will experience some vision loss as they age; but when vision problems interfere with performing simple tasks of daily living (and glasses do not help) it’s very likely that you are experiencing more severe vision loss than normal aging.
There could be a potentially serious medical condition at play, such as macular degeneration (a condition common in aging that affects the central part of the retina, resulting in distortion or loss of central vision). Vision problems can also be caused by other medical conditions such as diabetes. If you are experiencing any of the challenges described above, it’s vital to visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Early intervention for vision loss conditions can make all the difference in treatment options.