Vision Loss Resources

Government

New York State Commission for the Blind
The mission of the New York State Commission for the Blind is to enhance employability, to maximize independence and to assist in the development of the capacities and strengths of people who are legally blind.

http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cb/

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC is charged with eradication of discrimination in the workplace. This website includes information on antidiscrimination legislation for employers and employees.

www.eeoc.gov

U.S. Department of Treasury’s “Go Direct” Campaign
For those consumers still receiving their social security payments by paper check, the U.S. Department of Treasury offers another option through a direct deposit program.

www.godirect.org

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of Braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. Included on the NLS website is a searchable catalog of accessible texts.

www.loc.gov/nls/

 

Nonprofit Organizations

Abledata
ABLEDATA is a federally funded project whose primary mission is to provide information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources to consumers, organizations, professionals and caregivers within the United States. This searchable database is offered free-of-charge, and provides information on some 27,000 products, including many of interest to individuals with visual impairments.

www.abledata.com

American Council of the Blind
Consumer organization providing information and referral on all aspects of blindness, public education and awareness, and training.

www.acb.org

American Foundation for the Blind
A national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB’s priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources.

www.afb.org

American Printing House for the Blind
APH manufactures braille, large type, recorded, computer disk and tactile graphic publications, as well as a wide assortment of educational and daily living products. APH also offers a variety of services to assist consumers and professionals in the field of vision, such as Louis, a database listing materials available in accessible media from organizations across North America.

www.aph.org

Blindness Resource Center: The New York Institute for Special Education
Excellent resource for educators and employers. Particularly valuable for its sections on blindness, deaf-blind, low vision resources and vendor links.

www.nyise.org

Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service
Offers a diverse array of social services including vocational training and job placement; social support and mental health services for persons with disabilities; and child welfare and family support services such as foster care prevention, homemaker services, and group and family day care services.

www.bbcs.org

CAST (Center for Assistive Technology)
CAST is an educational, not-for-profit organization that uses technology to expand opportunities for all people, including those with disabilities. CAST provides a particularly useful tool, BOBBY, free-of-charge on its website. With BOBBY, web designers can check their sites to see if and where there are obstacles to accessibility by persons with disabilities, including visual impairments.

www.cast.org

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York
Various programs and services to help challenged persons live as independently as possible.

www.catholiccharitiesny.org

Closing the Gap
Closing the Gap is a not-for-profit organization that disseminates information on assistive technologies for classroom and rehabilitation use. In addition to its annual conference, Closing the Gap provides a wealth of information on its website, including a very comprehensive, searchable database of hardware and software.

www.closingthegap.com

Consumer Services Guide
A searchable directory of resources that can help you with consumer problems and questions.

www.consumerservicesguide.org

The Family Center on Technology and Disability
The Family Center is a resource designed to support organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities. FCTD offers a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technologies. Whether you’re an organization, a parent, an educator or an interested friend, FCTD provides information to support efforts to bring the highest quality education to children with disabilities.

www.fctd.info

Fedcap
Fedcap helps people with all types of disabilities and barriers to employment join the workforce, while providing vital services to business and government.

www.fedcap.org

Helping Hands for the Disabled of NYC
An organization of disabled people helping disabled people, solving real needs for real people.

www.hhdnyc.org

Lavelle School for the Blind
A multicultural educational institution. The programs at Lavelle seek to educate the whole child through a combination of developmental and functional strategies. As the student progresses, the curriculum accommodates individual changing needs and educational growth.

www.lavelleschool.org

National Federation of the Blind
National consumer and advocacy organization providing public education about blindness. Offers literature, scholarships, referrals and more.

www.nfb.org

National Industries for the Blind
NIB’s mission is to enhance the opportunities for economic and personal independence of persons who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment.

www.nib.org

NARIC: The National Rehabilitation Information Center
NARIC is a federally-funded center that disseminates information on disability research. Numerous searchable databases provide references to journal articles, books and documents of interest to professionals seeking to learn more about persons with various disabilities.

www.naric.com

The New York Public Library: Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
Access talking books and braille.

talkingbooks.nypl.org

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D)
RFB&D, the nation’s educational library for people with print disabilities, provides educational materials in recorded and computerized formats from kindergarten through postgraduate level. RFB&D’s materials are for all people who cannot effectively read standard print because of a visual, perceptual or other physical disability.

www.rfbd.org/

Tiresias
Provides guidelines on accessibility issues for all types of disabilities.

www.tiresias.org

 

Other Resources

Apple Computer Accessibility Information Page
Provides an overview of the accessibility features built into the latest Macintosh products, as well as links to major vendors of software and hardware for visually impaired computer users.

www.apple.com/accessibility

Microsoft Accessibility Website
Microsoft’s accessibility page provides a wealth of information, obviously geared toward its own operating system and applications software. Included here is technical information for people with visual and other disabilities, tips for information technology and other professionals, and more.

www.microsoft.com/enable

New York City Accessibility Resources
From the NYC Official Accessibility Guide, compiled by the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. For a printed copy of the Guide, call 212-788-2830 or 212-788-2838 (TTY).

http://www.nyc.gov/html/mopd/html/home/home.shtml

NYC: Accessible Transportation Resources

Big Apple Greeter
The Big Apple Greeter’s Access Project reaches out to travelers with disabilities and assists in planning personal NYC itineraries.

www.bigapplegreeter.org

MTA NYC Transit Access-a-Ride Paratransit
Access-a-Ride is MTA’s door-to-door service for people with disabilities.

http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/guide.htm
877 337-2017 (toll-free)

MTA NYC Transit Customer Service
718 330-3322
Braille friendly

MTA NYC Transit Reduced-Fare MetroCard
718 243-4999
800 861-9614 (information line about MetroCard balances for people with visual impairments)

MTA NYC Transit travel information for people with disabilities

http://web.mta.info/accessibility/transit.htm

Taxi and Limousine Commission Wheelchair Taxi Dispatcher

www.nyc.gov/taxi

NYC: Accessible Vehicle Resources

Golden Touch Transportation

www.goldentouchtransportation.com

Wheelers, Inc.
Vans with lifts, ramps, hand controls, etc.

www.wheelersvanrentals.com

NY Waterway-Ferry and Bus System
Daily ferries from multiple locations in Manhattan to or from New Jersey, and free, daily shuttle bus connections throughout Manhattan

www.nywaterway.com

NYC: Accessible Museums

American Folk Art Museum
Copies of labels and wall texts are available in large print at the admissions desk; touch tours are available with one month advance notice.

www.folkartmuseum.org

American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History offers monthly Science Sense Tours in the Museum galleries for visitors who are blind or partially sighted. Specially trained Museum tour guides highlight specific themes and exhibition halls, engaging participants through extensive verbal descriptions and touchable objects. Science Sense is free with Museum admission. The tours are available to individuals or groups. Space is limited, and advance registration is required. Programs may be subject to change. For additional information or to register for a Science Sense tour, please call (212) 313-7565 or email accessibility@amnh.org.

www.amnh.org

Brooklyn Museum
Touch tours are available with advance notice.

www.brooklynmuseum.org

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Tactile exhibits are available.

www.cmom.org

Guggenheim​
Offers “Mind’s Eye” programs, and a free multimedia app with Verbal Imaging description tours, for visitors who are blind or have low vision.

www.guggenheim.org/new-york/visit/tours/visitors-with-disabilities

Jewish Museum
Copies of text panels and transcripts of video programs are available in large print, and there are touch tours for select ceremonial objects.

www.thejewishmuseum.org

Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum offers a wide array of programs for people who are blind or partially sighted, including self-guided and guided touch tours; verbal imaging tours; and a regularly scheduled program, “Picture This!” A drawing class for people who are blind and partially sighted also is offered once a month. Large-print labels of select special exhibitions are available. In addition, audio guides are free of charge for visitors who are blind or partially sighted. Contact the Museum directly for more information or to make an appointment: Access@metmuseum.org or 212.650.2010

www.metmuseum.org/events/visitorsdisabilities/

Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Large-print guide to the exhibits are available.

www.mjhnyc.org

Museum of Modern Art
Touch tours of the sculpture and design collection are available by appointment; there are also large-print and Braille brochures for special exhibitions.

www.moma.org

New York Hall of Science
Exhibits are hands-on and incorporate visual, tactile and auditory components.

www.nyscience.org

New-York Historical Society
Large print and Braille transcripts of audio tours, large-print brochures and verbal description guided tours are all available. Some galleries have large-print text panels.

www.nyhistory.org

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
There is a large-print floor plan, and Braille signage in galleries.

www.guggenheim.org

Staten Island Children’s Museum at Snug Harbor
Brochures and signs in large print are available; all exhibits are tactile.

www.statenislandkids.org

The Studio Museum in Harlem

www.studiomuseum.org

Whitney Museum of American Art
There are large print and Braille brochures for special exhibitions; verbal description tours are available with advance reservation.

www.whitney.org

 

Free or Low-Cost Eye Exams and Glasses, Drugs, and Surgery

Eye Exams

EyeCare America
A public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) that provides comprehensive eye exams and care for up to one year, often at no out-of-pocket expense to eligible candidates age 65 or older.

eyecareamerica.org

InfantSEE®
A public health program that provides comprehensive vision assessment by member optometrists to ensure early detection of eye conditions in babies during the first year of life, regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage.

www.infantsee.org

Lions Clubs International
A volunteer service organization with local chapters; sponsors community programs that may help with the purchasing of corrective eyewear or obtaining eye health care for individuals that meet their criteria. Use the Club Locator on the organization’s website to find a Lions Club near you.

www.lionsclubs.org

VISION USA
Coordinated by the American Optometric Association (AOA), this program provides free eye care to eligible uninsured, low-income workers and their families.

www.optometryscharity.org/vision-usa

Surgery

Mission Cataract USA
Provides free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no other means to pay.

www.missioncataractusa.org

Eyeglasses

New Eyes for the Needy
Purchases new prescription eyeglasses through a voucher program for children and adults in the U.S. who cannot afford prescription glasses on their own.

http://www.new-eyes.org/

Sight for Students
A Vision Service Plan (VSP) program that provides free eye exams and glasses to eligible low-income and uninsured children 18 years and younger.

www.sightforstudents.org

Prescription Drugs

Patient Access Network
Helps eligible underinsured patients afford the copayments for pharmaceutical treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

www.panfoundation.org

Government Programs

Medicare Benefit for Eye Exams
People with diabetes can get a yearly dilated eye exam to check for diabetic eye disease.

https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/yearly-eye-exam.html

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Covers doctor visits, prescription medicines, hospitalizations and much more for children 18 years and younger at little or no cost. In addition, many states pay dental care, eye care and medical equipment costs. To find health coverage programs in your state, visit the InsureKidsNow.gov website.

www.insurekidsnow.gov

 

Career Possibilities

NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

http://www.nyc.gov/html/mopd/html/home/home.shtml

Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service
Offers a diverse array of social services including vocational training and job placement; social support and mental health services for persons with disabilities; and child welfare and family support services such as foster care prevention, homemaker services, and group and family day care services.

www.bbcs.org

Fedcap
Fedcap helps people with all types of disabilities and barriers to employment join the workforce, while providing vital services to business and government.

www.fedcap.org

National Industries for the Blind
NIB’s mission is to enhance the opportunities for economic and personal independence of persons who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment.

www.nib.org