May 2011 Issue  Volume 12  Number 5


AFB's Center on Vision Loss: A Showcase of Accessibility and Independence in Daily Living

Dallas, Texas, is home to more than a football team and a large, intimidating airport. If you are planning a trip to Dallas, a must-see place to add to your itinerary is the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Center on Vision Loss. Located at 11030 Ables Lane, the Center on Vision Loss promotes increased awareness, understanding, and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Strategies for living with vision loss
  • Information and products useful to consumers, family members, and professionals
  • Resources

Opened in 2006, the Center on Vision Loss is a real-world laboratory through which the latest in products and environmental design are offered to people new to vision loss as well as to those who may be seeking new solutions to living or working as independently as possible despite vision loss. Every year, an average of 1,500 people visit the Center to learn about common causes of vision loss, the latest in environmental design, and assistive technologies.

The Center educates family members and professionals from a variety of fields about environmental and product modifications that can be made to enhance the independence of people with vision loss.

The Center hosts tours and produces seminars on an array of topics for a variety of professionals including home health workers, occupational therapists, educators, eye care professionals, and even interior designers. Many of the seminars held at the Center make their way to AFB Senior Site or to the AFB eLearning Center as webinars or podcasts.

One of the most unique aspects of the Center is Esther's Place, a specially designed and fully equipped model apartment. Each room includes appropriate and accessible products and appliances, designed or adapted for people with varying degrees of vision loss. The environmental design of Esther's Place includes different types of lighting and examples of the use of color and texture contrast and physical arrangement to enhance safety and promote independence in every area of the home.

Dark red bathroom towels hang on a white wall, and a white towel contrast with a red countertop.

Caption: Bathroom towels that highly contrast with their surroundings make them easier to see for people with low vision.

The information and examples of adapted living areas seen in Ester's Place will inspire you to make changes to your living space, which will increase your independence in your own home. The apartment is a showcase for educational tours and hands-on demonstrations to individuals and groups.

High contrast place setting: dark table with white place mat, blue plate and cup, and blue-handle utensils, red napkin.

Caption: High contrast place settings make finding the plate, cup, utensils, and napkin easier for people with low vision.

The Center on Vision Loss also provides assessment services to developers and manufacturers of new products and designs, and often partners with AFB TECH, universities, and research groups to investigate, review, and test new technologies and consumer products. The Center is a testing ground for information published on AFB Senior Site, featured in another part of this issue of Access World.

In short, people take away hope and inspiration, knowing that there is life after vision loss.

For more information about AFB's Center on Vision Loss, or to schedule a tour, e-mail us at, or call (214) 352-7222.

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