When discussing vision loss, it is important to know that a person can have low vision but not be completely blind. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, low vision isn’t fully correctable with surgery, medications, contact lenses, or glasses. February is Low Vision Awareness month and there are many resources and great technology available for people with low vision.
The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) has a training center in Kalamazoo, Michigan which is an invaluable facility for people with low vision to learn a variety of skills such as traveling, braille, and maintaining a home. The ultimate goal at the residential center is to help each person regain as much independence as possible. The news station Fox 17 in West Michigan has shared the story of one woman’s success at the BSBP.
Advances in technology (commonly referred to as Assistive or Adaptive Technology) have been a great benefit for people who have low vision. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines Assistive Technology as “any aid or device that provides individuals with disabilities with an effective method to access information that has traditionally been inaccessible because of a disability.”
Did you know that Kalamazoo has a Braille and Talking Book Library? Other cities and counties around Michigan have talking libraries as well. Those eligible for its services can register and access (for free!) books and magazines in braille and large print, Digital Talking Book Machines (audiobooks), headphones, and newspapers in electronic speech.
If you have low vision, or know someone who has low vision, the American Foundation for the Blind is conducting a survey through February 29, 2016. This goal of this survey is to learn more about individuals who experienced vision loss after age 55 and continued or returned to work.