Vision loss in modern-day America: A series on blindness

by Jill Marie Ogden

Last month’s column presented a basic overview of blindness and answered some common questions. This article will cover a few skills a blind person may learn for completing basic tasks and suggestions for coping with the psychological effects of blindness.

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Many people who experience vision loss, especially later in life, receive rehabilitation services. Often these take place at a residential facility. Skills addressed include cooking, cleaning, reading braille, using adaptive technology, promoting mobility, and even participating in recreational opportunities. Students learn to use a tray to contain potential spills when measuring or mixing ingredients, how to chop vegetables safely, where to label appliances with braille or tactile markings, and how to match clothes.

Whether a person is born with a visual impairment or experiences vision loss later in life, dealing with the psychological effects may be difficult. Traditional therapy is often helpful, but finding a support group, either in person or online, of others who have dealt with or are dealing with vision loss can prove invaluable. If no support group exists in the local area, Facebook offers myriad quality groups.

Tip: If guiding a blind person, offer him or her your elbow to hold onto, so you can guide that person more effectively.

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