Area of Focus: Vision

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

Reference Books

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


Find more resources using the Areas of Focus Vision category search and in the Related Links.

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.


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