The Financial Costs Of Vision Loss As A Disability
People born blind usually learn to live and thrive in a world dominated by sighted individuals, but they still experience ongoing adaptive living expenses as working adults.
These costs include transportation fees, home modifications, and expensive technologies that allow the blind to live independently and perform essential job duties.
Even the expense of a guide dog may be outside the grasp of a disabled worker. According to the Guide Dog Foundation, the cost of raising and training a single service animal is about $50,000.
While some organizations provide dogs free of charge to the blind, these groups have limited resources and budgets. This means blind workers may wait months or years for a guide animal unless theyre able to afford to pay for training their own.
For people who lose their sight later in life, the costs of blindness include not only adaptive expenses like those mentioned above, but also astronomical medical bills.
Patients and doctors frequently do all they can to retain or improve sight, using surgical procedure, medications, and other treatment methods. Bills add up quickly, particularly for patients that have lost their job and their health insurance along with it.
A decrease in average earnings or total loss of income from work after vision loss is common too, with workers often being unable to continue employment in their traditional field.
Effects Of Vision Impairment
Vision impairment can affect many areas of childrens development, some of which you might not expect.
For example, your child might have extra challenges with:
- communicating for example, your child might not see someone waving and smiling at them or not be able to make eye contact
- playing and socialising with others for example, your child might be clumsy, not be able to read body language, get lost in a crowd or have trouble making friends
- talking for example, your child might not point to objects, so the people nearby wont name these objects, and your child will miss the chance to learn the names
- telling the difference between day and night
- sitting, crawling and walking for example, your child might not try to move because they cant see the interesting objects you put out for them
- learning to read and write
- playing for example, your child might be afraid to touch certain textures or explore areas they cant see.
Severe vision loss or blindness can mean that some parts of your childs development and learning will be slower than for other children. For example, you might notice that your child is slower in learning to roll over, crawl, walk, speak and be social with others. Your childs ability to do all these things should come with time.
Engaging your child to explore their environment using whatever vision they have and linking their vision with their other senses will help spark their curiosity about the world around them.
Adaptive Technology For Vision Disability
Persons with low vision or other visual disabilities have a number of adaptive technologies available for their use.
- A list of available screen readers can be found at:
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Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.
Cite This Page : Disabled World. . Vision Disability Types and Information. Disabled World. Retrieved September 14, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/vision/
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Diagnosis Of Vision Impairment
Getting a diagnosis is the first step to the right intervention, the earlier the better.
If youre worried about your childs vision, its a good idea to see a;GP,;paediatrician or optometrist to get your childs eyes checked. The GP, paediatrician;or optometrist can send you to a childrens eye specialist; a paediatric;ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will examine your child and do tests to work out what the problem is.
If your doctor;doesnt think theres a problem but youre still worried, its OK to get a second opinion.
If your child is old enough, you could ask them to do some drawings of common objects or people. You could take the drawings with you to show the doctors. This will give doctors an idea of how your child sees the world.
Working With The Medical Community
If you have a child with a visual impairment, youll probably find yourself dealing with a variety of eye care professionals who become involved to diagnose and address your childs specific disability or eye condition. Wondering who these professionals might be, what qualifications they should have, and what kind of expertise they can bring to your childs care?
Family Connect is an excellent source of this information. Family Connect is an online, multimedia community created by the American Foundation for the Blind and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments . We suggest you download Family Connects toolkit called Working with Medical Professionals.;The toolkit is available online in English and Spanish, at:
Need a glossary? |Becoming familiar with medical terminology relating to the visual system may also prove helpful, especially when talking to medical professionals and reading about your childs impairment. If youre baffled by the terms you hear, visit the Glossary of Eye Terminology, which lists common terms that eye doctors use when discussing symptoms, tests, treatments, surgery, diseases and conditions, and the anatomy of the eye.;The glossarys online at:;
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Fast Facts Of Common Eye Disorders
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Blind Vs Visually Impaired: Whats The Difference
A look into the difference between what constitutes someone as visually impaired or blind
A question people ask often is, Whats the difference between someone who is blind and someone who is visually impaired? So, today, I sat down with our newest intern, Katie, to ask her some questions about the differences between visual impairment and blindness. She told me we should first start with the definitions of both.
What is the difference between visual impairment and blindness?The definition of visual impairment is a decrease in the ability to see to a certain degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Blindness is the state of being unable to see due to injury, disease or genetic condition.
In the U.S., there are four terms used to describe different levels of vision impairment and blindnesspartially sighted, low vision, legally blind and totally blind.
Partially sighted means a person has partial vision, either in one or both eyes.
Low vision refers to a severe visual impairment in which visual acuity is 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot improve with glasses or contacts.
Legally blind means a person has a corrected vision of 20/200 in their best-seeing eye. If visual aids such as glasses can correct a persons vision to 20/20, they are not considered legally blind.
Totally blind refers to a complete loss of sight.
From what distances are visually impaired people able to see?
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Challenges Blind People Face When Living Life
Having to deal with sight loss or low vision is merely one of the challenges that the visually impaired are facing when living life. Blind individuals are just like anyone else but they just canât see. Is this case as simple in real life as in our minds, though? As one of Envisionâs founders said in his TEDxGouda talk, we have built a world around us that serves the majority. That means that any individual different than the average, such as the visually impaired, faces difficulties because theyâre not what is considered to be average. This article aims to shed light upon the challenges the visually impaired face just by living life and being the odd ones out.
Access to information: The major sensory organ of a person is their eyes. One glimpse around us is enough to make us realize how visual is most of the information in our environment. Timetables in train stations, signs indicating the right way or potential danger, a billboard advertising a new product in the market, these are all the visual types of information we all come across in our daily life. Most of this information is inaccessible for the blind and the visually impaired, inhibiting their independence, since access to information signifies autonomy.
Are you or a loved one struggling with sight loss? Please, seek support in the following organizations or contact us here.â
USA: AFB – American Foundation for the Blind
Canada: CNIB – Canadian National Institute for the Blind
How To Apply For Benefits With Vision Loss
You can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance online via the SSAs website or you can submit your application at your local SSA office.
If you apply for Supplemental Security Income however, you must do so through an interview process with an SSA representative and this is usually done at the local office.
No matter how you apply or which program youre applying for, you will need to have a lot of information readily available, including:
- Your work history and details of your education and job training
- Medical records or at least accurate contact information for all your healthcare providers, including your primary care doctor, specialists, and therapists or life skills educators
- Financial records, including bank statements, paystubs, and information on any other forms of benefits you currently receive
Your medical documentation is essential to proving your disability whether you qualify under a disability listing or through an RFC.
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Family And Peer Support
Families, advisors and peers play a key role in sustaining effective employment and independent living outcomes. Parents can provide emotional support, serve as advocates, and encourage independence. More directly related to employment, many job seekers, especially youth, use friend and family networks to find jobs. Blind or visually impaired youth whose parents had higher expectations regarding their participation in activities of daily living while they were growing up were more likely to be employed.xix
However, family support is not universal. Many individuals who are blind tell of families who were over-protective, of communities that restricted their activities, and of support groups that promoted unemployment and dependence on public benefits. Future research should tease out how families and communities can have higher expectations of blind children to facilitate independence and promote greater growth and evolution.xx
What Is Visual Impairment
Many people have some type of visual problem at some point in their lives. Some can no longer see objects far away. Others have problems reading small print. These types of conditions are often easily treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
But when one or more parts of the eye or brain that are needed to process images become diseased or damaged, severe or total loss of vision can occur. In these cases, vision can’t be fully restored with medical treatment, surgery, or corrective lenses like glasses or contacts.
The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that 10 million people in the United States are visually impaired. Visual impairment is a term experts use to describe any kind of vision loss, whether it’s someone who cannot see at all or someone who has partial vision loss.
Some people are completely blind, but many others have what’s called legal blindness. They haven’t lost their sight completely but have lost enough vision that they’d have to stand 20 feet from an object to see it as well as someone with perfect vision could from 200 feet away.
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Signs Of A Visual Impairment
Its very important to diagnose and address visual impairment in children as soon as possible. Some vision screening may occur at birth, especially if the baby is born prematurely or theres a family history of vision problems, but baby wellness visits as early as six months should also include basic vision screening to ensure that a little ones eyes are developing and functioning as might be expected.
That said, common signs that a child may have a visual impairment include the following.
Eyes that dont move together when following an object or a face
Crossed eyes, eyes that turn out or in, eyes that flutter from side to side or up and down, or eyes that do not seem to focus
Eyes that bulge, dance, or bounce in rapid rhythmic movements
Pupils that are unequal in size or that appear white instead of black
Repeated shutting or covering of one eye
Unusual degree of clumsiness, such as frequent bumping into things or knocking things over
Frequent squinting, blinking, eye-rubbing, or face crunching, especially when theres no bright light present
Sitting too close to the TV or holding toys and books too close to the face
Avoiding tasks and activities that require good vision
If any of these symptoms are present, parents will want to have their childs eyes professionally examined. Early detection and treatment are very important to the childs development.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Vision Impairment
Children with vision impairment might have typical-looking eyes. It might be something about a childs behaviour or the way they use their eyes that makes you think theres a problem with their vision.
Most;babies;start to focus on faces and objects by 4-5 weeks of age. By about 6-8 weeks, most babies will start smiling at the familiar faces and things they see. But if a baby has vision impairment, you might notice they have trouble doing this.
Here are some other signs that a baby has vision problems:
- Their eyes move quickly from side to side , jerk or wander randomly.
- Their eyes dont follow your face or an object.
- They dont seem to make eye contact with family and friends.
- Their eyes dont react to bright light being turned on in the room.
- Their pupils seem white or cloudy rather than black you might notice this in photos.
- Their eyes turn in towards their nose or drift outwards towards the side of their face this might happen sometimes or all the time.
An older child might:
- hold things up close to their face
- say theyre tired or rub their eyes a lot
- turn or tilt their head or cover one eye when looking at things up close
- get tired after looking at things up close for example, reading, drawing or playing handheld games
- seem to see better during the day than at night
- seem to have crossed or turned eyes or a;squint
- seem clumsy for example, they might knock things over or trip often.
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What Do Doctors Do
If you, your parent, or your doctor suspects a visual problem, you’ll probably pay a visit to an ophthalmologist , a medical doctor who specializes in examining, diagnosing, and treating eyes and eye diseases. When someone goes for an examination, the ophthalmologist will look at the structure of that person’s eye.
Other simple tests an ophthalmologist may perform include:
- Visual acuity test. A person reads an eye chart to measure how well he or she sees at various distances.
- Visual field test. Ophthalmologists use this test to measure side, or peripheral, vision.
- Tonometry test. This test determines the fluid pressure inside the eye to evaluate for glaucoma.
If your doctor determines that you have an eye condition that is likely to cause visual impairment, many treatments are available. Options may include eyeglasses, contact lenses, and eye drops or other medicines.
In some cases, surgery may be required. For instance, cataracts are often treated by removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens .
Other methods can;compensate for vision loss. Guide dogs can help people get from place to place independently. Braille allows those with visual impairment to read and write. Special equipment such as microscopic and telescopic glasses and voice-recognition software can make school and homework easier.
Wages And Occupational Industries
Compared with people without disabilities, the earnings of people with disabilities who work are lower than those without disabilities. In large part this is because the population of people with disabilities as a whole tends to be older, have higher numbers of minorities, and have lower levels of education. Even so, we would expect that full-time workers with disabilities who have the same amount of education as their non-disabled peers would have, on average, equal earnings,v but the disparity in earnings between the two groups is over $17,000.
Advances in technology should have greatly expanded opportunities for individuals with blindness or visual impairments and offer them greater parity with their non-disabled peers in the workplace.vi However, the earnings disparities persist even when comparing those with equal levels of education. Among individuals with any education level, the wage variance between people who are blind or visually impaired and who have no disability is over $13,000. Notably, the variance between wages of people with visual impairments and no disability with a bachelors degree or higher is $14,727; this is the largest earnings difference among workers in all educational levels .
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