Sight / Vision Loss Resources

  • About Glaucoma from the BrightFocus Foundation. Learn about some of the promising areas of glaucoma research that we are currently funding. BrightFocus Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting research and providing public education to help eradicate brain and eye diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. We are working to save mind and sight.  Updated
  • ADA Guide for Places of Lodging: Serving Guests Who Are Blind Or Who Have Low Vision
  • All About Vision provides patient information about vision
  • American Council of the Blind The American Council of the Blind (ACB) was founded in 1961 but many of its state affiliates and local chapters have a history that can be traced back to the 1880s. Since its inception, ACB and its affiliates have been at the forefront of the creation of policies that have shaped the opportunities that are now available to people with disabilities in our country. ACB has also effectively collaborated with Vision Rehabilitation Service providers to develop the principles and values that should be at the heart of providing adjustment and placement services to people who are blind.
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) As a national nonprofit with offices in five U.S. cities, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a leader in expanding possibilities for the more than 20 million Americans living with vision loss. We champion access and equality, and stand at the forefront of new technologies. Our award-winning programs directly address the most pressing needs of people with vision loss and their families. Like Helen Keller, AFB's most famous ambassador, we are committed to creating a more equitable world for people with disabilities. From infancy to education, career, and retirement, AFB is there to help at every stage of life.
  • American Printing House for the Blind The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world's largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are visually impaired.
  • Armor-Tile provides detectable warning and wayfinding solutions for the visually impaired.
  • "Bibliography for Performance Systems Technology (PST) and Computer-based Instruction (CBI)" published in the ACM SIGDOC Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD) [The JCD is no longer being produced. ACM SIGDOC members are able to get copies of archived journals.]
  • Blindness and vision impairment Fact Sheet from the World Health Organization (WHO)  Updated
  • Blindness and Visual Impairment Resources is an independent information website about contact lenses, not affiliated with any retailer or distributor.
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  • Charles Bonnet Syndrome Foundation for phantom vision
  • Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (Washington, DC). Since 1900, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind has been dedicated to helping the blind or visually impaired population of the greater Washington region overcome the challenges of vision loss. Our work enables people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired to remain independent, active and productive in society. Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind’s (CLB) programs and services include training and consultation in assistive technology, employment marketing skills training, career placement services, comprehensive low vision care, and a wide range of counseling and rehabilitation services.
  • Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness is the essential professional resource for information about visual impairment. The international peer-reviewed journal of record in the field, it delivers current research and best practice information, commentary from experts on critical topics, news, and events.  Updated
  • Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Type I; LCA1 (congenital retinal blindness) from the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database, Johns Hopkins University. Leber congenital amaurosis comprises a group of early-onset childhood retinal dystrophies characterized by vision loss, nystagmus, and severe retinal dysfunction. Patients usually present at birth with profound vision loss and pendular nystagmus. Electroretinogram (ERG) responses are usually nonrecordable. Other clinical findings may include high hypermetropia, photodysphoria, oculodigital sign, keratoconus, cataracts, and a variable appearance to the fundus (summary by Chung and Traboulsi, 2009).
  • Lighthouse International Lighthouse International "is a leading non-profit organization that helps people of all ages who are at risk for, or are experiencing, vision loss."
  • Media Access Group at WGBH develops and distributes captioning, video description, and MoPix means of access to movies and television for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • National Captioning Institute provides services to deaf, hard of hearing and other people who, for whatever reason, wherever situated and irrespective of their economic conditions, are limited in their ability to participate fully in the world of communications, heard, seen or written.
  • National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) of CPB/WGBH is a research and development facility dedicated to the issues of media and information technology for people with disabilities in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
  • National Federation of the Blind
  • NIH National Eye Health Education Program For more than 50 years, the National Eye Institute (NEI) has been on the front lines of vision research — and we continue to support cutting-edge research projects that investigate new ways to prevent, treat, or even reverse vision loss. We also work hard to help the public learn about vision problems and how to keep their eyes healthy.  New
  • Ray Charles: Trailblazing Artist and Advocate (1930-2004) tribute by Brent Hopkins, Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, July 2004, Vol. 98 Issue 7, p439. The tribute describes how Ray Charles was an example of how blindness need not prevent one from leading a full, productive life.  Updated
  • VisionAware – Resources for Independent Living with Vision Loss
  • Vision Australia – blindness and low vision services in Australia. A comprehensive site with many useful resources.
  • Visual Disabilities from WebAIM describes the types of vision disabilities: blindness, color-blindness, and low vision.
  • Vision Rehabilitation: Helping People with Low Vision (.pdf), NIH National Eye Health Education Program.  New


Visual accessibility problems involve blindness, low vision, and color-blindness.

Reference Books and Resources

There are several excellent books related to vision. See the suggested reading list for general information and detailed reference books for your library.

Sight / Vision Loss Resources

Find more resources using the Areas of Focus Vision category search.

Relevant News

Macular Degeneration

"Quality of Life Improves in Patients with Macular Degeneration: Duke Ophthalmology, Duke University School of Medicine, "Researchers at the Duke Eye Center have determined that patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) experience significant improvement in their quality of life following a surgical procedure called "macular translocation with 360 degree peripheral retinectomy" (MT360). AMD is an eye disease that may lead to vision loss in the central region of a person's visual field, a defect that can seriously impact a patient’s quality of life."  Updated

"Improvement of the Quality of Life in Patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration by Using Filters" by Caballe-Fontanet D, Alvarez-Peregrina C, Busquet-Duran N, Pedemonte-Sarrias E, Sanchez-Tena MA., Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 16;17(18):6751. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17186751. PMID: 32947984; PMCID: PMC7558281.  New

"UCSB Studies Link Alzheimer’s Disease, Macular Degeneration," by Josh Braun, Staff Writer. Published Wednesday, May 28, 2003. Issue 135 / Volume 83

Accessible Technology

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Tech's product evaluations offer objective, comprehensive accessibility reviews of products for people who have lost some or all of their vision. AFB Tech has evaluated a wide variety of products, including cell phones, blood glucose meters, insulin pumps, insulin pens, blood pressure monitors, office copiers and faxes, kitchen and home appliances, voting machines, and others. Their reports are available online at AFB AccessWorld®: Technology and People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. For example, see their many published reports on accessible cell phones.

Making Documents Accessible to the Blind

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) has a page about "Best Practices and Guidelines for Large Print Documents used by the Low Vision Community" that is authored by the Council of Citizens with Low Vision, International (CCLVI), an Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind in Arlington, VA. These guidelines were compiled by persons with low vision to assist in the production of the large print documents that they, themselves read.

Zoom for Low Vision

Wednesday, 15th June 2005 – By Gez Lemon. An article about creating alternative stylesheets for people with low vision. This discusses zooming text and color contrast. "Zoom for Low Vision"

Blind engineering student 'reads' color-scaled weather maps using Cornell software that converts color into sound

January 21, 2005: Victor K. Wong, a Cornell University graduate student from Hong Kong who lost his sight in a road accident at age seven, is helping to develop innovative software that translates color into sound. "Color is something that does not exist in the world of a blind person," explains Wong. "I could see before, so I know what it is. But there is no way that I can think of to give an exact idea of color to someone who has never seen before." The inspiration for using image-to-sound software came in early 2004 when Wong had problems reading color-scaled weather maps of the Earth's upper atmosphere—a task that is a necessary part of his doctoral work in "space weather," which attempts to predict weather patterns high over the equator for use by Global Positioning System and other satellite communications. Read more… "Blind engineering student 'reads' color-scaled weather maps using Cornell software that converts color into sound"

Library Services for the Blind

State libraries for the blind in Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Oregon, along with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), the National Library of Congress, other regional and state libraries, and the CNIB Library in Canada provide free audiobook library services to the visually impaired; requested books are mailed out (at no cost) to library patrons. Founded in 1996, Assistive Media of Ann Arbor, Michigan was the first organization to produce and deliver spoken-word recordings of written journalistic and literary works through the Internet to serve people with visual impairments.

The Blind Can See with Their Tongues

Update: Source: University of Montreal news release, June 2, 2004: An eye on the tongue. More…

2001—A Danish study found that people who were born blind can learn to see by having electrical impulses applied to their tongue. This research may also benefit other groups of disabled patients with brain injuries or diseases such as epilepsy, dementia, blood clots in the brain or patients who have had surgery where a portion of the brain has been removed. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are developing a tongue-stimulating system that translates images detected by a camera into a pattern of electric pulses that trigger touch receptors. That people can decode nerve pulses as visual information when they come from sources other than the eyes shows how adaptable, or plastic, the brain is, says Wisconsin neuroscientist and physician Paul Bach-y-Rita, one of the device’s inventors. "You don't see with the eyes. You see with the brain," he contends. An image, once it reaches an eye's retina, "becomes nerve pulses no different from those from the big toe," he says. To see, people rely on the brain's ability to interpret those signals correctly. More… [this article is continued but only available to subscribers to ScienceNews. See] (no longer available as of 28 February 2014) See also November 28, 2004: BehindTheMedspeak: BrainPort – See with your tongue and hear and touch as well.