The consumer organizations listed in this reference guide provide direct services to people who are blind or visually impaired, including assistance and advisory services, information and referral services, and counseling and employment programs. Many of the organizations also offer guidance and support to families of people with visual impairments. Professional organizations included in this guide serve the interests of eye-care providers and those who provide educational and rehabilitation services to people who are blind or visually impaired. They offer consumer information, conduct public-awareness campaigns, and advocate for specialized services. Organizations that maintain lists of state administrators or agencies that provide services to people who are blind and visually impaired are also listed.
Organizations Providing Direct Service to Consumers
American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Principal publication: Future Reflections, quarterly
Produces and distributes print/braille picture books, braille series books, braille calendars, and tactile art kits (for children ages 2–8) free of charge throughout the United States. Lends print/braille and braille books through the Kenneth Jernigan Library for Blind Children. An application for library service is available on the website. Offers the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship for blind individuals seeking an advanced degree.
American Council of the Blind (ACB)
Principal publication: Braille Forum, bimonthly
Advocates on behalf of people with visual impairments on issues related to civil rights, educational opportunities, vocational training, Social Security benefits, and health and social services. Serves as an information clearinghouse on blindness and provides advisory services on federal legislation. The iPhone app ACB Link connects people who are blind with ACB affiliates and services and offers programming from ACB radio channels, ACB podcasts, and interest groups.
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
1401 S. Clark St., Ste. 730
Arlington, VA 22202
Publications: Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, bimonthly; AccessWorld, monthly
Provides information on blindness for people who are visually impaired, professionals, schools, organizations, corporations, and the public. Conducts research and mounts programs to promote inclusivity, especially in the areas of literacy, technology, and aging and employment services. Advocates for services and legislation. AFB also publishes books, pamphlets, and DVDs. Maintains the Directory of Services, a database of agencies and service providers. Hosts a number of web-based initiatives including FamilyConnect, a multimedia community for parents and families of children who have visual impairments.
Association of Blind Citizens
Works to enhance the social, political, and economic well-being of individuals with visual impairments by increasing opportunities in education, employment, culture, and recreation. Produces the In Focus online radio program. Offers the Assistive Technology Fund, which covers 50 percent of the retail price of adaptive devices and software. Runs Camp Pride, a summer camp for youth ages 14–21 who are blind.
Blinded American Veterans Foundation
PO Box 65900
Washington, DC 20035
Maintains a nationwide volunteer corps to offer employment networking and rehabilitation counseling for veterans with visual disabilities. Supports medical research on sensory disabilities.
Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)
Principal publication: BVA Bulletin, bimonthly
National membership organization of veterans with visual impairments and their families assists veterans in obtaining benefits through its Field Service Program. Offers rehabilitation training and access to technology through local resources. Advocates on behalf of veterans with visual disabilities before Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Offers the Kathern F. Gruber and Thomas H. Miller scholarships to help children of blinded veterans pay for higher education tuition. Provides free hockey lessons for blinded veterans in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
Disabled Sports USA
Principal publication: Challenge Magazine, three times a year
Seeks to improve the lives of people with disabilities through sports. Its 120 chapters across the continental United States and Alaska support 60,000 youths and adults with disabilities in forty different sports.
Enrichment Audio Resource Services, Inc. (E.A.R.S.)
1202 Lexington Ave., Ste. 280
New York, NY 10028
Provides free audio materials that teach adaptive daily living skills to people who are visually impaired and their caregivers. Maintains an online directory of low-vision support groups arranged by state and county.
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Principal publication: Thrive, three times a year
Offers free distance-education courses to people with visual disabilities, their relatives, and the professionals who work with them. Courses include adjusting to blindness and braille reading and writing. Course materials are available in several formats including podcast, digital audiobook, large print, English Braille American Edition, and Unified English Braille. Students can access their records anytime through OASIS, Hadley’s Online Automated Student Information System. Recorded online seminar topics include accessibility, braille, health, professional development, and travel.
Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults
Principal publication: CONNECT!, biannual
Provides braille instruction, independent living skills, orientation and mobility instruction, vocational training, and counseling for youth and adults with combined hearing and visual impairments. Library provides materials in braille, large-print, talking-book, and other accessible formats. Recreational activities include field trips, shopping, swimming, and social events as well as a variety of services for seniors. Offers professional consultation services to agencies that work with people who are deaf-blind. Performs community outreach programs through regional and national offices.
Lighthouse Guild International
250 W. Sixty-Fourth St.
New York, NY 10023
Principal publication: Vision and Health E-Newsletter, three times a year
Offers a range of vision rehabilitation services for children, working-age adults, and older adults, as well as a distance continuing-education program for professionals. Provides evaluations and instruction to prepare children with visual impairments to transition to public education. Prepares individuals ages 14–21 to succeed in school and work. Operates the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School and Accessible Music Technology Lab. Maintains Vision Health, an online resource on vision impairment and rehabilitation.
Lions Clubs International
300 W. Twenty-Second St.
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Principal publication: Lion Magazine, bimonthly
Initiates service projects such as sight conservation and diabetes education through more than 46,000 clubs in 200 countries. Provides free glaucoma screenings and devices, including braillewriters and white canes. Collects used eyeglasses to distribute in developing countries and sponsors guide dogs. Supports eye research centers worldwide and Lions Club camps for people with visual disabilities.
National Association of Blind Merchants
7450 Chapman Hwy. #316
Knoxville, TN 37920
Organization of people with visual impairments who work with the Randolph-Sheppard vending program or are self-employed. Offers information pertaining to the needs of blind merchants, such as taxes, Social Security Disability Insurance, and rehabilitation.
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Principal publications: Braille Monitor, 11 issues per year; Future Reflections, quarterly; Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, biannually
Monitors state and federal laws and regulations affecting people with visual impairments. Informs members of services available to them and of their rights under the law. Maintains the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. Developed the KNFB Reader App, which takes a photo of text and reads it aloud. Offers NFB-NEWSLINE, a telephone service that provides audio versions of print newspapers and magazines free to subscribers with visual disabilities. Sells assistive devices and publications.
National Industries for the Blind (NIB)
3000 Potomac Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22305
Increases opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind by creating, sustaining, and improving employment. Develops business opportunities in government and commercial marketplaces for NIB’s network of associated nonprofits. Allocates federal contracts for SKILCRAFT, a line of products created by individuals who are visually impaired or severely disabled, and for other products and services produced through the AbilityOne Program.
National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision
108 Herbert-South, Rm. 150, Industrial Education Department Bldg.
PO Drawer 6189
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS 39762
(662) 325-8989 fax
Enhances employment and independent living outcomes for individuals with visual impairments and agencies that serve them through research, training, and education. Provides a National Technical Assistance Center website for businesses, service providers, and consumers. Publishes studies on successfully navigating transitions into higher education and employment.
National Resource Center for Blind Musicians
Provides information and referral services for musicians with visual impairments, especially students using braille music or specialized technology. Arranges help with preparation for music theory courses by connecting people with experts in the field, virtual tutoring, and residential seminars for college-bound musicians. In Connecticut, collaborates with others on arts-focused learning and enrichment programs for children and adults.
Pioneers: A Volunteer Network
5680 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Ste. 500
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Engages current and retired telecommunications employees in various volunteer projects. Partners with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) and its network of cooperating libraries to repair the NLS digital talking-book machine.
Prevent Blindness America
Promotes a comprehensive system of vision care and eye health for young children. Maintains articles on common eye problems. Provides a virtual forum that includes sharing community resources, webinars, census data, and reports on public health policy. Provides customized patient eye health and safety fact sheets and certification in vision screening.
The Vision Council
Global representative for manufacturers of vision products and services. Promotes growth in the vision-care industry through continuing education, research, assistance, strategic relationship building, and industry forums. Raises awareness of low-vision rehabilitation among eye-care professionals, people who are visually impaired, and their caregivers.
National Organizations That Serve Professionals
Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals
Certifies professionals who are trained to work with people who have visual impairments according to the standards set by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Hosts a job board.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
PO Box 7424
San Francisco, CA 94120
(415) 561-8533 fax
Principal publications: EyeNet, monthly; Ophthalmology, monthly; Ophthalmology Retina, bimonthly
Advances ophthalmologists’ professional interests to ensure quality eye care to the public. Provides free educational materials on eye health and access to medical eye care. Maintains a free information repository. Offers “Find an Eye M.D.,” a listing of member ophthalmologists who practice in the United States and abroad.
American Optometric Association
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., Fl. 1
St. Louis, MO 63141
800-262-2210 toll-free (AOA Marketplace)
Organization for optometrists, students of optometry, and paraoptometrics works to improve the quality and availability of eye care. Provides free vision-care services to low-income children and adults. Offers eye assessments to infants in their first year of life. Offers consumer information and an online tool to locate optometrists.
Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)
Principal publications: AER Report, quarterly; AER Viewpoint, weekly
Offers opportunities for professional development to members who work in all phases of education and rehabilitation of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. Provides news and research information, publications, certification programs, meetings and conferences, and job-exchange services. Advocates the importance of maintaining specialized services for blind consumers of all ages.
Association of Vision Science Libraries
Establishes core competencies for librarians beginning work in special libraries worldwide that focus on vision science. Curates print and electronic resources on vision science. Membership includes professionals in university, corporate, research center, nonprofit, and hospital libraries.
464 Hillside Ave., Ste. 205
Needham, MA 02494
Nonprofit develops treatments and technology and supports clinical research to restore sight in patients with complex corneal disease. Provides brochures and continuing education for doctors, patients, and eye clinics on a number of eye-related diseases. Offers one-year Cornea Fellows and Optometry Residents for new doctors.
Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation
1 Research Ct., Ste. 450
Rockville, MD 20850
Works to maintain and enhance a national program of public vocational rehabilitation services that empower individuals with physical and mental disabilities to achieve employment, economic self-sufficiency, and societal inclusion. Supports state vocational rehabilitation professionals through career development resources, sharing employment resources across states, and abiding by best practices.
Equal Access to Software and Information
Offers training and webinars on how to make digital formats accessible for people with disabilities. Topics include barrier-free information technology, e-learning, web design, streaming, multimedia, and more. Institutional and individual memberships provide a free archive of past webinars and discounts on future courses.
Eye Bank Association of America
Principal publication: International Journal of Eye Banking, 3 issues per year
Grants funding to promote research. Certifies eye banks. Writes standards to be used when evaluating and distributing corneal transplants.
National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research
1801 Rockville Pike, Ste. 400
Rockville, MD 20852
Educates and advocates for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and its National Eye Institute, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs. This coalition of professional, consumer, and industry organizations is affiliated with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, a nonprofit educational foundation.
National Blindness Professional Certification Board
Offers a number of certifications, including certifications on orientation and mobility, rehabilitation, literary braille, and Unified English Braille, for specialists who work with individuals who have visual impairments.
National Council of State Agencies for the Blind, Inc.
Dacia Johnson, President
Oregon Commission for the Blind
535 SE 12th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97214
Phone: (971) 673-1588
Promotes through assistance, coordination, and education the delivery of specialized services that enable individuals who are blind and visually impaired to achieve personal and vocational independence. Serves as an advisory body to federal agencies. Also provides information about state directors of its Business Enterprise Program and on the Randolph-Sheppard Act, a federal law requiring that people who are blind be given priority to operate vending facilities on federal property.
Older Individuals Who Are Blind – Technical Assistance Center
Offers technical assistance, continuing education units for professionals, and online collaborative communities to agencies working with older individuals who are blind.
Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
2318 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Undertakes projects designed to produce new technology and methods for assessment and rehabilitation of blindness, visual impairment, and deaf-blindness. Provides links to current peer-reviewed research and the Smith-Kettlewell Technical File archive. Offers pre- and post-doctoral fellowships in basic, clinical, and rehabilitation research.
Trace Research and Development Center
Applies engineering, human-computer interface, disability studies, public policy, and information science to prevent barriers for people who are blind.
Organizations That Provide Reading Services
American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
Principal publication: APH News, monthly
Provides educational texts (primary through secondary level) in large print and braille for visually impaired students in the United States and its territories. Maintains the Louis Database of Accessible Materials and APH File Repository. Offers assessment, a bookstore, and articles on daily living and family life. Catalogs are downloadable in multiple formats.
Offers braille production services, including tactile graphics and Nemeth code. Transcribes documents in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. Also offers large print, audio, accessible PDFs, and Section 508 document remediation. Fee-for-service.
Horizons for the Blind
Converts material into accessible formats upon request. Maintains an active social group for people with visual disabilities in the Chicago area. Offers assistance to businesses and organizations seeking to make themselves more accessible.
International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS)
Assists services that produce text-to-speech audio programming for people with a print disability. Provides a Facebook conversation group, mentoring, and updates on critical issues for audio programming personnel. Maintains state listings of audio information services.
20 Roszel Rd.
Princeton, NJ 08540
Lends digitally recorded textbooks for all academic levels from kindergarten through graduate school to individuals with a documented visual, physical, or learning disability that substantially limits reading. There is a one-time registration fee and annual membership fees at the individual or institutional level. Catalog and ordering system are on the website.
National Braille Association
95 Allens Creek Rd. Bldg. 1, Ste. 202
Rochester, NY 14618
Principal publication: Bulletin, quarterly
Standardizes braille and supports transcribers through a help-message board and professional development activities. Offers a wide range of materials for braille transcribers in the fields of mathematics, computer notation, textbook formats, tactile graphics, music, and computer-assisted production.
National Braille Press
Principal publications: Syndicated Columnists Weekly; Our Special, bimonthly
Promotes literacy for children who are blind and deaf-blind. Produces and sells materials in braille, electronic braille, print/braille, and large-print formats. Also produces tactile graphics. Offers the Children’s Braille Book Club, which features a new print/braille book each month. Provides access to standardized tests through the National Braille Test Center.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children
Offers high-quality free or low-cost braille books for children. Provides braille books at each level of development, from board books to classic literature. New titles added to the catalog every year.
Organizations That Focus on Children
American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Principal publication: Journal of AAPOS, bimonthly
Works to ensure quality medical and surgical eye care for children and adults with strabismus. Offers information on common pediatric eye problems. Provides a database of pediatric ophthalmologists.
Blind Children’s Center
Principal publication: Light the Way, annually
Serves children with visual impairments from birth to second grade by providing individualized services in an inclusive setting. Services include an early intervention program for infants, therapeutic support services, and school programs from preschool through second grade. Offers support services for parents and family members of children with visual impairments. Sells booklets, training manuals, and videos.
Children’s Glaucoma Foundation
Increases awareness of the symptoms of glaucoma and encourages parents and doctors to screen infants and children for it. Provides resources regarding childhood glaucoma.
Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education
2208 University Blvd., Ste. 101
Birmingham, AL 35233
Advocates for biomedical research on treatment for vision, speech, and hearing loss. Awards the Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research to promote public awareness of research efforts to end blindness.
Institute for Families
Offers information, support, and counseling to families of children with visual impairments stemming from illness. Publishes educational books and videos.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
26 Broadway, 14th Fl.
New York, NY 10004
Works to prevent, treat, and find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Provides support teams for families with children who have Type 1 diabetes. Offers fact sheets, tool kits, and information for healthcare providers.
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
Principal publication: Future Reflections, quarterly
Provides information and support to parents and friends of children with visual impairments. Serves as advocate and facilitates the sharing of experiences and concerns among parents. Facilitates support groups through local chapters.
Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students
Weeklong, year-round program focuses on math, science, and physics for students who are visually impaired. Programs include Space Camp, Robotics Camp, and Aviation Challenge. Room and board are included in the price. Scholarships are available. Chaperones are welcome.
Vision of Children Foundation
Principal publication: EyeSite Newsletter, annually
Sponsors scientific research to develop therapies and cures for hereditary childhood vision disorders. Provides information and support to families of children who are blind or visually impaired and to service providers. Donates electronic magnifiers to children with low vision.
Vision Research Association for Retinopathy of Prematurity and Related Diseases
39650 Orchard Hill Pl., Ste. 200
Novi, MI 48375
Funds research into treatment and prevention of retinal disorders and diseases in children and adults. Publishes print and electronic brochures in English and Spanish about infants with retinopathy of prematurity. Offers medical consultation about an infant’s sight by sending digital images of the infant’s retina to a doctor for examination.
Organizations That Focus on Eye Diseases and Injuries
American Behçet’s Disease Association
Promotes awareness and understanding of Behçet’s Disease, which may cause inflammation in the front or the back of the eye. Provides support and information to individuals with the disease and their families. Educates the medical community about the disease. Offers online resources and physician referrals.
American Diabetes Association
Principal publications: Diabetes Forecast, bimonthly; Diabetes Care, monthly; Diabetes, monthly; Diabetes Spectrum, quarterly; Clinical Diabetes, quarterly; BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, annually
Seeks to prevent and cure diabetes and help people live with the disease and manage its complications. Provides information to people with diabetes, their families, health professionals, and the public. Develops materials to help people understand the risks of diabetes and the need for diabetic retinopathy screening. Maintains a national call center. Advocates for the rights of people with diabetes. Funds research and publishes scientific findings in journals for physicians who specialize in diabetes and for general practitioners. Sells publications, CDs, and videos for the public and health professionals.
American Macular Degeneration Foundation
PO Box 515
Northampton, MA 01061
Principal publication: In the Spotlight, quarterly
Works for the prevention, treatment, and cure of macular degeneration by educating the public, supporting scientific research, and raising funds. Provides educational videos on the Internet.
American Uveitis Society
Offers educational opportunities in the medical profession such as classes, seminars, and lectures on uveitis. Promotes research regarding the disease and its treatments.
Association for Macular Diseases, Inc.
Provides the macular encyclopedia as a reference to those seeking information about macular disease. Keeps current on the latest news and research related to eye health. Acts as a national support group for individuals and families that are adjusting to macular disease-related problems.
Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation
Promotes research into the causes and possible cures of benign essential blepharospasm and offers a variety of publications and resources for people with the condition and their families.
22512 Gateway Center Dr.
Clarksburg, MD 20871
800-250-7274 toll-free (hotline)
Offers educational services pertaining to conditions that affect vision or brain function, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. Hosts and records online chats. Offers a toll-free hotline for listening to chats.
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Principal publications: InFocus Newsletter, 3 issues per year
Funds research to find treatments and cures for retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and Usher syndrome. Provides information and referral services.
The Glaucoma Foundation
Principal publications: Eye to Eye, quarterly; E-Newsletter, quarterly
Funds research to determine the causes of glaucoma, improve methods of treatment, and develop cures. Provides resources and support groups.
Glaucoma Research Foundation
Principal publications: Gleams, 3 issues per year; eGleams, monthly
Seeks a cure for glaucoma through research and education. Provides resources and free publications on glaucoma.
Hear See Hope
Funds Usher syndrome research and raises awareness of the disorder. Connects parents of children with the illness to create a support network.
International Children’s Anophthalmia Network
Principal publication: The Conformer Newsletter, semi-annual
Offers information to parents of children with anophthalmia ormicrophthalmia.
Jack McGovern Coats Disease Foundation
Provides information about Coats disease and sponsors events to raise money for research and awareness. Posts parent stories, new research, and summaries of interviews.
Macular Degeneration Foundation
Principal publication: The Magnifier, quarterly
Seeks to develop cures for macular degeneration and to educate patients, professionals, and the public about methods of prevention and treatment.
Macular Degeneration Partnership
Principal publication: AMD Update e-Newsletter, quarterly
Provides the latest news related to macular degeneration. Funds research into new treatments and possible cures for the disease. Gives advice on living with macular degeneration and improving daily life and includes information for family and caregivers.
MD Support (Macular Degeneration Support)
Offers information for people with macular degeneration and similar retinal diseases. Provides accessible reading materials, lists of agencies, organizations, eye-care hospitals, and distributors of low-vision aids. Holds monthly support-group sessions by telephone.
National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF)
850 Health Sciences Rd.
Irvine, CA 92697
Principal publications: NKCF E-Newsletter, 3 issues per year; E-Updates, monthly
Increases the awareness and understanding of keratoconus by providing information to patients, their families, and eye-care professionals. Maintains a patient registry and physician referral, organizes support and discussion groups, and supports scientific research.
National Marfan Foundation
Principal publication: Connective Issues, 3 issues per year
Provides information about Marfan syndrome and related disorders to patients, family members, and the health-care community. Promotes research into the disease. Acts as a support network for individuals with the illness and their families.
National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation
Principal publication: Albinism InSight, quarterly
Educates the public and professionals about albinism and encourages research. Offers information and support to individuals with albinism and their families. Provides services through local chapters, an online community, and biannual national conferences and family summer camps.
The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation
Seeks a cure for ocular immunology through funding and conducting research projects. Educates doctors about proper care and provides support groups for people with the condition and their families.
Ocular Melanoma Foundation
1717 K St. NW, Ste. 900
Washington, DC 20006
Promotes awareness of ocular melanoma and advocates for funds to research the condition.
One Small Voice Foundation
Provides information about optic nerve hypoplasia and hydrocephalus. Funds research for these disorders.
Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum International
Promotes research into pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a genetic disease that can cause blindness. Offers information about research and treatments of the disease.
Research to Prevent Blindness
Principal publication: Eye Research News, annually
Maintains an online research library of material relating to visual disorders and a directory of practitioners who work with people with visual disabilities. Provides eye research-grant support to scientific institutions in the United States. Seeks to develop treatments and cures for diseases that damage sight.
Organizations That Provide Financial and Other Assistance
Bicknell Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center
Provides vocational rehabilitation services and occupational and physical therapy. Offers training in independent living skills, orientation and mobility, assistive technology, and braille. Supports early intervention for children who are blind or have low vision, provides summer camps for children and teens, and offers support groups for their parents.
Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions (BLIND) Inc.
Offers instruction in braille, orientation and mobility skills, and home and life skills, as well as computer instruction and skills to help people who are blind or visually impaired gain employment. Provides referrals to resources that address their needs.
Carroll Center for the Blind
770 Centre St.
Newton, MA 02458
Live-in vocational rehabilitation center offers courses in independent-living skills for people with visual impairments. Includes assistive technology training, orientation and mobility instruction, employment training, senior services, and recreation.
Computer Center for Visually Impaired People
Offers free, self-paced courses that teach people with visual impairments of any age how to use a computer, tablet, and smartphone. Provides individualized instruction on accessible devices and curates a list of accessible apps. Also provides braille production, web usability testing, and scripting services for a fee.
Foundation for Blind Children
Provides computer training, independent-living skills, communication skills, orientation and mobility instruction, and braille literacy. Offers financial assistance to parents of children with visual impairments in addition to transition services, camps, and recreational activities.
The Hatlen Center, a Program of Junior Blind
2430 Rd. 20, #B112
San Pablo, CA 94806
Live-in vocational rehabilitation center in northern California offers residents independent-living skills, orientation and mobility instruction, and assistive technology training. Courses include financial management and pre-vocational training with the possibility of temporary placement. Provides recreational learning opportunities and braille instruction.
Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc.
Offers direct access to medical eye care, often at no out-of-pocket cost, for underserved older Americans through the Seniors EyeCare and Glaucoma programs. Funds research into nonsurgical treatments for strabismus.
Low Vision Center
Demonstrates various assistive technologies that are available for purchase. Offers community outreach services and educational opportunities. Provides referrals to physicians, assistive technology products, and social services.
New Eyes for the Needy
Provides vouchers to low-income U.S. residents to obtain new prescription eyeglasses. Distributes reusable eyeglasses to medical missions and welfare agencies in developing nations.
Sight for Students
Provides eye examination and glasses to low-income children under age eighteen.
Guide Dog Schools
Custom Canines Service Dog Academy
Nonprofit organization connects highly skilled service dogs with people with diverse disabilities. Website offers state-by-state listing of laws related to guide, service, and signal dogs.
Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Principal publication: FidelcoNews, biannual
Connects people who have visual impairments with Fidelco guide dogs, a special breed of German shepherd. Offers “in-community” placement wherein the person is trained in their own neighborhood to use the guide dog.
Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind
Principal publication: Freedom Forum, annually
Breeds, raises, trains, and places guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Program is based in upstate New York and is offered to people in the Eastern U.S. at no cost.
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
Provides intensive two-week, on-campus, customized training program with the guide dog and blind partner. Offers a program that matches guide dogs with a person’s mobility, personality, lifestyle, and physical needs in mind.
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Principal publication: Guide Dog News, quarterly
Offers training for the appropriate use of guide dogs by people with visual impairments and continuing-education courses for orientation and mobility instructors. Provides specialized services to children and seniors.
Guide Dogs of America
Principal publication: Partner’s Newsletter, biannual
Offers breeder program, volunteer foster homes, formal training, and three weeks of on-campus training for the guide dog and blind partner.
Guide Dogs of the Desert
Principal publication: Guiding Paws News, quarterly
Provides four-week intensive training for guide dogs and their blind partners. Maintains a puppy development center and guide dog and puppy training programs.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Provides guide dogs, user training for people who are blind or visually impaired, and support for the team throughout the lifetime of the dog at no charge.
Leader Dogs for the Blind
Maintains a breeding program, volunteer puppy raisers, and four months of formal harness training with a professional guide dog mobility instructor. Offers specialized programs for people who are deaf-blind. Partners with Lions Clubs International.
OccuPaws Guide Dog Association
Trains guide dogs for visually impaired residents of Wisconsin at no charge. Provides an in-home training program. An International Guide Dog Federation-accredited school.
Pilot Dogs, Incorporated
625 W. Town St.
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 221-1577 fax
Offers a one-year in-home puppy training program, formal guide dog training, and a four-week on-campus training session with the guide dog and blind partner.
The Seeing Eye
Principal publication: The Guide biannual
Trains guide dogs and offers instruction to their partners. Provides services at cost.
Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.
4210 Seventy-Seventh St. E.
Palmetto, FL 34221
Trains dogs for veterans and people who are blind at no cost. Offers puppy training and dog training classes for individuals who are interested in donating time and funds to the national nonprofit program.
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board)
Provides information on accessibility requirements for buildings, modes of transportation, telecommunications infrastructure, and information technology. Offers training on how to meet accessibility guidelines.
Federal Communications Commission: Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office
Seeks to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are met as telecommunications technology advances. Offers technical advice and assistance to agencies, consumers, and those in the telecommunications field.
Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services
400 Maryland Ave. SW
PCP, Rm. 5155
Washington, DC 20202
Offers adults with vision loss training in independent living skills, assistive technology, and orientation and mobility through state agencies. Provides counseling to individuals and families. Administers the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind program.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
866-569-1162 toll-free (TTY)
Responds to inquiries regarding diabetes and vision disorders that result from diabetes. Distributes professional and patient education publications including factsheets and booklets. Material is available in English and Spanish.
National Eye Institute
Conducts and supports research on eye diseases and vision disorders. Offers professional and public education programs, including a school curriculum on vision for grades 4–8 and a traveling exhibit.
National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS)
Library of Congress
Principal publications: Braille Book Review bimonthly; News, quarterly; Talking Book Topics, bimonthly
Administers a free national library program of braille and recorded books and magazines for blind or physically disabled individuals. Distributes reading materials and playback machines through cooperating regional (state) and subregional (local) libraries to eligible borrowers. Maintains the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service and the BARD Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Lends music materials through its Music Section in Washington, DC, including scores in braille and large print; magazines and books about music and musicians in braille, large print, and recorded format; and instruction for voice and for instruments in braille and recorded format. Maintains the NLS Union Catalog, a database of the NLS braille, recorded, and electronic collections and the special media collections, including large print, of other agencies that serve blind or visually impaired individuals.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
Blind Rehabilitation Service Rm. 117B
810 Vermont Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20420
Offers training in skills for daily living such as orientation and mobility and home care. Provides counseling services to veterans with visual disabilities and their families.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M St. NE
Washington, DC 20507
800-669-6820 toll-free (TDD/TTY)
844-234-5122 toll-free (ASL Videophone)
(202) 663-4494 TTY
Enforces Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, the law that prohibits employment discrimination based on disability.
Christian Blind Mission (CBM-US)
Works to improve the quality of life for millions of people with disabilities living in the world’s most disadvantaged societies. Uses a sustainable, holistic approach that includes prevention, treatment, education/rehabilitation, and economic empowerment.
Deafblind International (DbI)
Principal publication: DbI Review Magazine, biannually
Forms networks—international groups of specialized professionals, organizations, and schools—that are connected by language, culture, or geographic location. Networks choose their own charter, such as the Social Haptic Network, the Usher Network, and the Network of the Americas. Website hosts articles on conditions and syndromes that can result in deaf-blindness.
Helen Keller International
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Fl. 2
New York, NY 10017
Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, the mission of Helen Keller International is to save the sight of disadvantaged individuals in twenty-one countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States. Combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health, and nutrition.
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)
Mobilizes resources for blindness prevention activities such as disseminating ideas and information on successful approaches to eye-care delivery.
International Blind Sports Federation
Establishes local and national competitions in a number of sports for athletes who are blind or partially sighted. Hosts competition around the world. Establishes school sports programs, provides assistance to organizations promoting sports for athletes in developing countries who are blind or partially sighted, and is a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee.
International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)
Principal publications: The Educator, biannual; ICEVI E-News, biannual
Promotes equal access and full participation in education for children and youth with visual impairments by changing public attitudes, encouraging community participation, and facilitating the support of nongovernmental organizations.
International Eye Foundation
10801 Connecticut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895
Works to prevent and treat blindness and restore vision in the developing world. Assists with staffing and administrative support in eye hospitals and clinics, creating partnerships with local health organizations, and enhancing management and medical skills at treatment facilities. Makes ophthalmic products available at affordable prices and offers an online catalog for eye care providers to request a quote for products intended for use outside of the United States.
International Foundation for Optic Nerve Disease
Promotes research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of optic nerve disease.
International Society for Eye Research
655 Beach St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Principal publications: Eyes on the World, 3 issues per year; Experimental Eye Research, monthly
Supports eye research throughout the world by enhancing international communication and collaboration.
Offers a worldwide state-of-the-art teaching facility with operating room, classroom, and recovery room. Using the Flying Eye Hospital as their base, volunteer faculty teach in more than thirty countries and through the Cybersight telemedicine platform. Trains, staffs, and supplies hospitals and communities with tools to prevent and treat blindness.
SEE International, Inc.
Volunteer ophthalmic surgeons provide medical, surgical, and educational services with the primary objective of restoring sight to individuals who are blind and disadvantaged worldwide.
1786 Fifth St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 845-7410 fax
Principal publication: Spirit of Service Newsletter, quarterly
Provides low-cost surgery for cataracts, glasses for students, and medical treatment to prevent blindness. Improves the infrastructure and quality of eye-care services in local hospitals. Leads initiatives around the world including the United States, where they are partnered with the American Indian Sight Initiative.
Plans and supports a range of eye-care services in developing countries, offers outreach programs for rural areas, and promotes the integration of children who have a visual impairment into mainstream schools. Provides education, counseling, and training to blind individuals.
Unite For Sight
Supports eye clinics worldwide. Applies best practices in eye care, public health, volunteerism, and social entrepreneurship to achieve the goal of high-quality eye care for all.
World Blind Union (WBU)
Principal publication: WBU e-Bulletin, quarterly
Serves as a nonpolitical, nongovernmental coalition of representatives from various associations for people who are blind and visually impaired and from agencies providing services to them. Works to prevent and treat blindness, promotes the equal societal participation of people who are blind or visually impaired, and serves as an international forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of blindness.
World Braille Foundation
Documents best practices for braille literacy. Donates braille materials and equipment and deploys volunteers to improve the literacy level of people who are blind in developing countries.
World Services for the Blind
2811 Fair Park Blvd.
Little Rock, AR 72204
Residential program offers training in independent living skills, such as orientation and mobility education, and vocational training. Provides college prep and essential workplace skills to young adults in transition.
Selected Annotated Bibliography
AAV Media, LLC. All about Vision. 2019, www.allaboutvision.com External
Articles related to eye health, eye disease, and eye aging.
American Foundation for the Blind. Braille Bug. 2019, www.afb.org/braillebug External
Children’s website provides biographies of Helen Keller and Louis Braille as well as braille lessons and interactive activities.
American Foundation for the Blind. “Find Services for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.” 2019, www.afb.org/directory.aspx External
Database with more than 20,000 organizations that serve people who are blind or visually impaired.
American Foundation for the Blind. “For Seniors with Vision Loss.” VisionAware. 2019, www.visionaware.org/info/for-seniors/1 External
Personal stories, questions and answers, blog posts, announcements, life skills, and information on particular eye conditions for seniors with vision loss.
American Foundation for the Blind. VisionAware. 2017, www.visionaware.org External
Step-by-step daily living techniques, a directory of national and local services, and a supportive online community for adults losing their sight.
American Optometric Association. “The Archives and Museum of Optometry.” Accessed August 31, 2017, www.aoa.org/about-the-aoa/archives-and-museum External
History, archives, and museum collection of the American Optometric Association.
Association of Vision Science Librarians. “Eye Resources on the Internet.” Accessed August 31, 2017, webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/eye-health/ External
Alphabetical list of eye resources and organizations on the Internet. Compiled by librarians who specialize in vision science.
Bell, E.C., ed. Critical Concerns in Blindness. IAP Book Series. Accessed August 31, 2017, www.infoagepub.com/series/Critical-Concerns-in-Blindness External
Series developed by the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.
Cassin, B., and M.L. Rubin. Dictionary of Eye Terminology. 6th ed. Gainesville, FL: Triad Publishing Co., 2012.
Comprehensive dictionary of terms used in vision science.
Dixon, J.M. Braille into the Next Millennium. Washington, DC: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, 2000.
Essays examining the history and future of braille including the development of literary, Nemeth, and music codes; braille production; legal issues; library service; and literacy and computer access concerns.
Jones, K., ed. Disabilities Source Book. 3rd ed. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2015.
Descriptions of impairments, plus information on technologies, services, health and wellness, special education, employment and independent living.
Ledford, J.K., and J. Hoffman, eds. Quick Reference Dictionary of Eyecare Terminology. 5th ed. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Inc., 2008.
Diseases of the eye, eye conditions, and medical solutions.
National Eye Institute. “Database with Organizations on Eye Health.” Accessed October 22, 2019, www.nei.nih.gov/health/eye-health-organization-database External
Diseases of the eye, basic eye anatomy, and eye health resources.
National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision, Mississippi State University. National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment. Accessed December 16, 2019, www.ntac.blind.msstate.edu External
Resources, technical assistance, and research findings to improve the employment outcomes of people who are blind or visually impaired.
National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision, Mississippi State University. Older Individuals Who Are Blind Technical Assistance Center. Accessed December 16, 2019, www.oib-tac.org External
Assists agencies with community outreach, use of best practices, improved data reporting and analysis, and stronger financial and management practices to improve the independence, community involvement, and well-being of older people who are blind or visually impaired.
Nemours Foundation. “Your Eyes.” KidsHealth. Accessed October 22, 2019, kidshealth.org/en/kids/eyes.html External
Interactive website for children, parents, and teachers includes information on vision health and disability.
New York Institute for Special Education. Blindness Resource Center. Accessed October 22, 2019, http://bit.ly/2ydhi6l External
Blindness, deaf-blindness, eye conditions, and assistive technology.
Optometrists Network. “Children with Special Needs.” Accessed October 22, 2019, www.children-special-needs.org External
Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of eye disease and vision impairment in children.
Perkins School for the Blind. “Scout Information Clearinghouse on Blindness and Visual Impairment.” Perkins Scout. Accessed October 22, 2019, www.perkinselearning.org/scout External
Database of blindness resources, help for families with visually impaired relatives, and information for educators and professionals.
Prine, S., and G.F. Thuronyi. “The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.” In Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress: For Congress, the Nation, and the World, edited by J.Y. Cole and J. Aiken, 39–43. Washington, DC: Library of Congress and Bernan Press, 2005.
One-volume reference includes essays, articles, and statistical appendices.
Roberts, D.L. The First Year: Age-related Macular Degeneration; An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. New York, NY: Marlowe and Co., 2006.
Information for newly diagnosed patients, including therapies and tips on how to navigate everyday tasks despite diminishing eyesight.
Social Security Administration. “If You Are Blind or Have Low Vision—How We Can Help.” January 2019, www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10052.pdf External
Disability benefits for blindness and vision loss, contact information, and alternative formats of forms and other literature.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “University Directory for Programs in Visual Impairments.” 2019, www.tsbvi.edu/pds/498-college-and-university-programs External
Directory of college and university programs in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that provide professional training to those who want to work in the field of vision science.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Vision Impairment and Blindness.” MedlinePlus. Updated October 22, 2019, medlineplus.gov External
Internet resources on blindness and low vision by the National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Wonder Baby. Accessed October 22, 2019, www.wonderbaby.org External
Parents share with others what they’ve learned about playing with and teaching a young blind child. Links to resources and local family groups.