Visual Impairment and Blindness Resources

These resources cover the basics of visual impairment and blindness, covering the causes, as well as definitions of professional and medical terminology, descriptions of vision examination procedures, simulations, statistics, and recommendations for protecting the eyes and vision. This section also includes information on support groups for parents, families, and consumers, along with advice for environmental adaptations and tips for living with blindness and visual impairment.

For educational resources, please visit the sections grouped under Teaching Resources.

This free bi-monthly electronic journal reviews and critiques assistive technology products for people who are blind or visually impaired. The archives are searchable and downloadable.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

A project developed between Penrickton Center for the Blind in Michigan, Perkins School for the Blind, and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides resources and a community of practice around the work of Dr. Lilli Nielsen and Active Learning. The site includes discussion of Active Learning principles, assessment, implementation, materials, equipment, and other events and resources. Active Learning is most effective for those with significant multiple disabilities and in the 0-48 month developmental level. 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Lilli Nielsen's book, Early Learning Step by Step. It outlines her Active Learning Approach and explains the importance of the learning environment for childen with visual impairments and multiple disabilities.

Source: Future Reflections, 2004, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Recorded video webinars on various aspects of Active Learning can be viewed here.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Evolving Universe and Feel the Impact are NASA astronomy modules adapted for students with visual impairments. Both include alternate student texts and tactile graphics cards. The SEE Project develops "Braille / tactile … space science activities and observing programs that actively engage blind and visually impaired students from elementary grades through introductory college level in space science."

Source: Initiative to Develop Education though Astronomy and Space Science (IDEAS)

Adapting Science for Students with Visual Impairments is a handbook from American Printing House for the Blind (APH) for classroom teachers and teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVIs). It provides suggestions for making science accessible to students with vision loss. It includes:

  • Advance Preparation Checklist alerting the teacher to orientation and safety issues
  • Skills Checklist readying the student for laboratory and classroom activities

The Adapting Science checklists are also available as a free download at:

Practical advice for organizing the kitchen, using appliances, pouring liquids, cooking, and setting the table; includes links to demonstration videos and online classes.

Source: Lighthouse International

ADA creates child-specific adaptations in a model workshop in New York City. They also create guidelines, techniques, and devices that can be replicated in Adaptive Design Centers all over the world. Founder Alex Truesdell is a MacArthur Fellow and tells about her work in this video:

Source: Adaptive Design Association

Challenges facing people with blindness or visual impairment in Sierra Leone, including barriers to full social inclusion.

Source: AfriCAN

Challenges facing people with blindness or visual impairment in Sierra Leone, including barriers to full social inclusion.

Source: AfriCAN

The English title is “Curricular Adaptations and Creation of Services for Multi-handicapped Blind Persons in Chile”; in Spanish.

Source: International Council for the Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)

Aimed at professionals: understanding and assisting with the losses and adjustment stages that an adult encounters when experiencing vision loss.

Source: Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians

Age-related eye and vision conditions, driving safely after 60, and dealing with vision loss.

Source: American Optometric Association

Barbara Cheadle's child-rearing advice for parents whose children have visual impairments.

Source: Future Reflections, 2004, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) offers resources on advocacy for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Resources are organized into the following categories:

  • Technology
  • Employment and Rehabilitation
  • Education
  • Civil Rights
  • Health
  • Policy Research

A non-governmental umbrella organization of agencies and associations that serve people in Africa who are blind or visually impaired.

Source: African Union of the Blind

This 190-page report describes "the experiences of youth with disabilities … in their first 2 years out of high school." Their findings indicated that "up to 2 years after leaving high school, almost 8 in 10 out-of-school youth with disabilities have been engaged in postsecondary education, paid employment, or training to prepare them for employment." Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study

An overview, including signs and symptoms, an online video exploring adaptive technology, and additional resources.

Source: VisionAware

Causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of age-related macular degeneration, and suggestions for living with it.

Source: Sacramento Network of Care

An exploration of the global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration.

Source: Vision 2020