Did You Know?

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 7.6 million Americans are unable or have difficulty reading print with conventional glasses.  Over the next 30 years, as the baby-boomer generation ages, the number of adults with vision impairments is expected to double.
  • Surveys conducted by Lou Harris Polls show that the great majority (more than 80%) of employers say that their employees with disabilities are as reliable or more reliable than their non-disabled coworkers.
  • New York State's former Governor, David A. Paterson, has been legally blind since birth. 
  • "Blindness" is defined by Federal law.  The term "legally blind" refers to people who have visual acuities of 20/200 or less in their "better" eye with correction, or who have visual fields of 20 degrees or less (tunnel vision).  
  • Most legally blind people travel without the aid of a white cane or guide dog, and pass unnoticed in the general population.
  • There are only about 7,000 dog guide users in the U.S. Dog guides are trained to respond to traffic, and the directional commands given by their "masters." (It's the blind person who knows where they are going and how to get there, not the dog.)
  • Virtually any computer can be made "accessible" with inexpensive magnification or synthetic speech software.
  • Only 10% of people who are legally blind people read Braille. Most legally blind people have some "usable" vision and can read large print.
  • Braille was invented by Louis Braille in 1820 when he was in his early teens.  Braille letters are patterns of 1 - 6 raised dots, arranged in a 2 x 3 Braille "cell."
  • People with severe vision loss learn "orientation and mobility" skills to travel safely; "rehabilitation skills" to accomplish basic household & personal tasks; and "assistive technology skills" to use computers equipped with magnification or synthetic speech software.

Learning to compensate for vision loss takes work, diligence, focus and courage --  Skills demonstrated by VISIONS consumers!

Data are from various sources including: US Census Bureau, McNeil, Americans with Disabilities, Report 70-73 (2000);  National Eye Institute & Prevent Blindness America, Vision Problems in the U.S.: Prevalence of Adult Impairment and Age-Related Eye Disease in America (2002).

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