When it comes to finding online resources for the blind and vision impaired, there is a range of tools, sources and solutions for most needs. Even so, becoming aware of and finding the tools that you need can be an overwhelming experience, not only because of the sheer numbers of tools available, but also because new eye health treatments and discoveries, as well as low vision tools and services are continuously emerging.
We have compiled a listing of resources based on specific needs and situations. From help adapting to life with low or no vision, to financial assistance for the vision-impaired, these resources can provide assistance and helpful insights for easier daily living and a higher quality of life.
Resources for Help with Adjusting to Low Vision or Blindness
These sites offer help for those adjusting to vision loss and/or blindness:
- VisionAware – Offers a list of resource guides to help the vision impaired and blind adjust to vision loss, as well as lists for help finding a support group.
- Vision Loss Resources – The home page features an interview with Wally, a Vision Loss Resources board member and ambassador who suddenly lost his vision due to a car accident at the age of 34, as well as an extensive menu of resources for all facets of living with low vision or blindness.
- Adjusting to Vision Loss – A regularly-updated web page listing containing a large amount of resources to help people cope with vision loss.
- My Blind Spot – With the motto, “Inspiring accessibility for all,” this site lists sources for everything including advocacy and rights, educational services, employment guidance, sports and recreation, and even travel tips, all on one large resource page.
Resources for Youth, Parents and Educators
The following sites offer help for parents, teachers, children and teens:
- Ability Online – A large network of helpful resources and opportunities via a supportive and nurturing online environment for children and youth with chronic illnesses or physical impairments.
- Blind Children’s Resource Center – Affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind, this site provides resources for information on the latest eye health news, learning and development, finding independence and playing sports and games.
- FamilyConnect – Geared towards parents raising children with visual impairments, this site offers valuable support, from the initial diagnosis and treatments, to education and beyond.
- Teaching Students with Visual Impairments – Offers a large list of iPad and Android apps for everything from communicating and reading, to note taking and using Braille.
Although many of these sites are country-specific, the helpful information they provide applies to blindness and vision impairment in general:
- Blind.Net – An international, non-profit informational warehouse of resources where organisations can submit a listing at no charge. A basic site that includes contact information for many services and sources of assistance for the blind and their families.
- Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training – GLADNET offers assistance and resources for adults who want to enter, stay or rejoin the workplace.
- The Blind Readers’ Page – Organised by subject, this site is a resource for information delivered in a variety of formats, including Braille, large print, recorded cassettes, e-texts and web audio accessible to anyone with visual disabilities. The site also offers information on blindness, vision loss and other physical disabilities.
- International Libraries and Organisations for the Blind – Provided by The Blind Readers Page, this site offers a large listing of organisations and libraries outside of the U.S. that also offer links to more reading sources.
UK Based Resources
The information these sites offer applies globally to eye health and blindness; however, there are resources geared towards UK residents, as well:
- Royal National Institute of Blind People – Based in the UK, the RNIB site includes an online shop that offers a variety of the latest products for those dealing with vision loss. The menu on the left includes topics on eye health, dealing with the diagnosis, treatments, everyday living and services the RNIB offers. They also offer the latest news surrounding vision impairment, as well as support, education and other tools to make life easier.
- Action for Blind People – Also UK based, Action for Blind People works with the RNIB to provide a wide range of support, resources and services, as well as ways people can get involved or donate.
U.S. Based Resources
Many of these resources and organisations have an international reach since they provide updated information on low vision, blindness and eye health:
- Perkins Scout – Curated by the Perkins School for the Blind, this is a searchable database of online resources related to blindness and visual impairment. Geared for all ages, the topics cover a variety of issues, including assistive technology, independent living, international resources and education.
- National Federation of the Blind – Resources are broken into four easy-to-use categories, For Living, For Working, For Learning and For Education. They also include a Products and Technology area, as well as a Publications page. If visitors get stuck, the site includes a topic index, too.
- American Foundation for the Blind – The AFB website draws its inspiration from the famous Helen Keller, who worked for the foundation for more than 40 years. The home page has a link to the News section and a list of blog articles that cover a wide range of topics. There is a Directory of Services on the home page includes a link for browsing. The Share Your Story section is a message-board for support.
- Resources for the Blind International – The mission of RBI is to offer help wherever it is needed by those who are blind and visually impaired all over the world. They are working mainly in the Philippines at this time, but are currently expanding their international reach. They offer resources and information, as well as an opportunity to volunteer and/or donate.
- The New York Institute for Special Education Blindness Resource Center – Updated regularly, this extensive website offers a U.S.A. and an international page, for every aspect of blindness and vision loss.
Resources for the Latest Medical Advancements and Research
Keeping up with the latest advancements in eye health and research is much easier, thanks to the following resources:
- Science Daily’s Eye Care News – Provides the latest information on cutting-edge treatments, advancements and medical research findings.
- Eye on the Cure – This up-to-the-minute blog keeps on top of the latest retinal disease research and medical advancements.
- Living Well with Low Vision – This blog offers updated information on medical research, studies and trials in the field of low vision.
- National Eye Institute – Offers the newest information and resources on eye health, as well as updates on NEI’s research projects.
Communication Tech and Mobile App Resources
- VDBI.Org – Offers an extensive list of links to organisations and companies that offers assistive technologies, such as magnifiers, readers, Braille translators, software and scanners.
- Over 65 Accessible Mobile Apps – This page, offered by the AFB, provides a product table containing over 65 helpful tools arranged alphabetically.
- NFB Technology Resource List – This list covers it all, including Braille, math, reading, GPS, tactile graphics and mobile phone tools.
- W3C Web Accessibility Initiative – Explains various ways the disabled can access the internet. It also describes a multitude of tools and techniques used to easily explore the web. This page also has resources for web designers and developers, so they can create widely-accessible applications, software and other tools. Includes a translator for many languages, too.
- Vision Website Accessibility Checklist – Along with an interesting article on web access, this Disabled World offers links to assistive computer devices and software, computer screen readers, a web browser just for the blind and more at the end of the post.
- Facebook Accessibility – A recent upgrade, Facebook now offers automatic alternative text or automatic alt text, which gives the blind and vision-impaired a description of a photo using object recognition technology. They plan to refine this tool over time, adding more languages and devices that can use it, as well as adding the ability to provide the identity of who is in a photo.
- Twitter – Twitter is also adopting automatic alt text for users of the iOS or Android Twitter apps. Users can access this feature by choosing the “compose image descriptions” option in the accessibility settings in the app. Blind or low vision Windows users can also use Chicken Nugget, a free Twitter client that is compatible with most screen readers.
Financial Assistance Resources
- Enhanced Vision – Provides a list of grants and assistive programs in the United States, both nationally and by state.
- AFB Directory of Services – Provides a comprehensive listing of U.S. federal programs for the blind or visually-impaired.
- Private Charities – A listing of organisations that provide financial help to the blind and visually-impaired.
- Disability Rights UK – A free factsheet that provides financial resources for those with disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision.