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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Types of Accommodations

Most visually impaired people have low vision, and many of them can be accommodated by low-tech solutions, such as improved contrast, magnification, and lighting.

Examples of Low-Tech, Low-Cost Accommodation

  • Adjust lighting for alternative source and illumination type (natural, incandescent, halogen, fluorescent)
  • Use large print in communications and documents; also use electronic and braille communications
  • Use large print, braille labels, or tactile dots on equipment, tools, facilities, and documents
  • Provide magnification devices (e.g., magnifying glasses)
  • Use electronic text and voice mail communiqués instead of written notes
  • Assign human readers to help with printed and handwritten materials that cannot be converted electronically
  • Adjust work schedule to allow for mass transit rather than car use
  • Provide for sharing or switching certain job tasks

Narrative Description:

The following chart shows examples of accommodation for a range of visual impairment. From moderate to severe impairment, magnification and improved lighting alone may be all that is needed. If magnification and lighting are not adequate, talking software, other technical modifications, re-training or job modification (as examples) may be needed. This is typically adequate for more than 85% of the population of visually impaired individuals. Personal assistance can help in some cases, principally for people with severe visual impairments.

Chart showing types of accommodation for ranges of visual impairment from slight to severe impairment.

Another large part of the population can be accommodated using a host of high-tech assistive technologies such as synthetic speech (talking) software and other technical modifications, as well as retraining or job modification.

Examples of High-Tech Accommodation

  • Synthetic speech output to translate text to speech
  • Screen-magnification programs that change font size and shape, enlarge icons, enhance mouse pointer, and change screen colors
  • Devices such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) to enlarge printed documents
  • Refreshable braille systems that transcribe information from the computer screen into braille text
  • Portable notetakers: handheld devices that electronically receive, store, and retrieve data and are equipped with speech and/or refreshable braille display output

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