Low Vision Resources
Some people with glaucoma have "low vision." Low vision means there may be problems doing daily, routine things even if using glasses or contact lenses.
A variety of products and resources are available to help people who have low vision. Examples include magnifiers, colored lenses, and computer text enlargers.
It is estimated that at least 13 million Americans over the age of 45 suffer from vision impairments that qualify as low vision.
Problems Associated with Low Vision
Some of the difficulties associated with low vision include problems with glare, lighting, and contrast (which allows us to see different shades of the same color).
Glare can be a real problem for people with glaucoma. Whether it is from the sun or a bright indoor light, glare can reduce the brightness differences and impair contrast sensitivity. Tinted lenses can be used to lessen the effects of some of these problems.
The amount of light available can also present challenges. Most people who have glaucoma are very sensitive to excessive light, especially extreme sunlight. Moderately lit conditions can also pose a problem and usually require additional lighting.
Educational Resources and Support Services
The Glaucoma Research Foundation provides the following list of educational programs, support groups and counseling services as a resource for those with glaucoma and their families.
American Foundation for the Blind
Eleven Penn Plaza Ste 300
New York, NY 10001
Provides public education, social, and technological research for the blind or visually impaired. Also provides information on legislation affecting blind and visually impaired persons.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
P.O. Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120
Sponsors EyeCare America, a project that provides a free initial eye exam to qualified patients. Also sponsors a program that provides eye exams to people over 65 who cannot afford care. Offers listing of national and local eye care organizations.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) Foundation
243 N. Lindberg Boulevard, Floor 1
Louis, MO 63141
Toll Free: (800) 365 -2219 ext. 4200
Direct: (314) 983-4200
Coordinates Vision USA, a program of free eye care to uninsured, low-income workers and their families. Also supports the Council on Research, which coordinates and develops research proposals to improve eye care.
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
1929 Bayview Ave
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8
Provides counseling, rehabilitation and educational materials to Canadians with low vision. Also offers large print books and books on tape.
Library of Congress
National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Washington, DC 20542
(202) 707-5100 or TDD (202) 707-0744
Administers a free national library program of Braille and recorded books and magazines for the visually impaired and physically disabled. Blindness and Visual Impairments: Information and Advocacy Organizations (Item No. 896-01) is a free publication that lists state and nationwide advocacy, advisory and counseling programs.
111 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022
(800) 334-5497 or TDD (212) 821-9713
Educates professionals and the public about the effects of vision loss. Provides rehabilitation services for all aspects of low-vision.
Lions Clubs International
300 22nd Street
Oak Brook, IL 60521-8842
Supports SightFirst, a program that provides services for people with critical needs. Sponsors public awareness programs regarding diabetes and glaucoma. Supports eye banks, research and clinics.
3030 Enterprise Ct., Suite D
Vista, CA 92081
Telephone: (800) 826-4200
Created as an online resource center for Low Vision. Information, news, discussion groups, and products dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with visual impairments.
National Eye Institute
31 Center Drive MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
The NEI, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the Federal government's principal agency for conducting and supporting vision research. The NEI coordinates public and professional awareness activities related to low vision through the National Eye Health Education Program This program aims to increase awareness of low vision and its impact on quality of life and is directed toward people with low vision, their families and friends, and the health care and service professionals who care for them.
National Glaucoma Research
22512 Gateway Center Drive
Clarksburg, MD 20871
(800) 437-2423 or (301) 948-3244
Toll-free hotline offers current information on research and treatments. Free quarterly newsletter, National Glaucoma Research Report.
Prevent Blindness America
211 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60606
Offers information on diseases and injuries of the eye. Also available is a newsletter, Prevent Blindness News. Some Spanish materials are available.
Research to Prevent Blindness
645 Madison Avenue 21st Floor
New York, NY, 10022-1010
(800) 621-0026 or (212) 752-4333
Funds research to develop effective methods of treatment, prevention, and a cure for diseases that impair vision.
Tax Tips for the Blind
This web resource was recommended by one of our readers. Several aspects of federal tax law apply specifically to blind or visually impaired citizens. Anyone whose field of vision falls at or below 20 degrees, who wears corrective glasses but whose vision is 20/200 or less in his best eye, or who has no eyesight at all, meets the legal definition of being blind and is eligible for certain tax deductions. Learn more.
Washington State Department of Services for the Blind
PO Box 40933
Olympia, WA 98504-0933
Provides information and job counseling, and teaches adaptive skills to people who are blind or have low vision.
Glaucoma Research Foundation makes no claim as to the accuracy of the information contained at the above linked websites, nor is inclusion on the list an endorsement of an organization. Updates on new or revised resources are appreciated and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.