February is Low Vision Awareness Month

Did you know that an annual, comprehensive eye examination is a key step in detecting early signs of eye diseases like Age-related Macular Degeneration before vision loss progresses? February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month, which is a great time to emphasize the importance of comprehensive eye examinations. Low vision is when even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people have difficulty seeing.  Low Vision is defined as a visual acuity in the better seeing eye of 20/70 or worse which means that someone with 20/70 must be 20 feet away to see what someone with 20/20 (perfect vision) can see at 70 feet away.  Millions of people in the United States are living with vision loss which can make it hard to do everyday activities like driving, reading, or cooking.  According to the National Eye Institute, currently 4.2 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired. Of these, 3 million have low vision. By 2030, when the last baby boomers turn 65, the number of Americans who have visual impairments is projected to reach 7.2 million, with 5 million having low vision. WOW!! 

GOOD NEWS! There are programs like ours at the South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind that provide vision rehabilitation services that can help people with low vision make the most of the vision they have so they can keep doing the things they love.  Vision rehabilitation can include the following:


      • Training to use magnifying and adaptive devices

      • Teaching new daily living skills to remain safe and live independently

      • Developing strategies to navigate around the home and in public safely

      • Providing resources and support

      • Plus many more

    A few tips for businesses regarding communicating inclusively. They should create accessible social media posts, use closed captions and alt text for image descriptions, and share transcripts for videos. Color contrasts and larger fonts can help those with visual impairments. Make sure your product integrates with assistive technology and has accessible packaging.  If you would like more information regarding this then please see the contact information listed below for resources that could assist.

    Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, Rehabilitation Center for the Blind
    Phone: 605-367-5260

    Employment Disability Resources
    Phone: 605-215-1760

    Please take time to watch this short video to hear from successful members of the Sioux Falls community who share their personal experiences and some tips when working with someone who may have a visual impairment.

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