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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Types of Accommodations for Employees with Vision Loss

Employees who are blind or visually impaired often use a wide range of assistive technologies, items designed specifically to help people with vision loss or other disabilities, such as screen readers on computers, tablets, or smartphones; braille displays; and note takers. While some of these accommodations are rather high-tech, many are increasingly mainstream and installed as part of a device's operating system (such as Narrator in Windows or VoiceOver on the iPhone). Many employees with visual impairment use a combination of low-tech and high-tech accommodations to accomplish tasks on the job. For example, individuals with some residual vision may use alternative lighting, electronic magnification, and improved contrast to maintain work efficiency. An individual with little or no usable vision may use a variety of electronic text-to-speech technologies to access printed documents, computers, and telephones.

Examples of Low-Tech Accommodations

  • Increase lighting or use alternative sources of lighting (e.g., natural, incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, or LED)
  • Compliment overhead lighting with task lighting
  • Eliminate sources of glare (e.g., windows without blinds or overhead lighting that is too bright)
  • Use large fonts (size determined by employee, sans serif font such as Arial)
  • Send electronic or braille communications when appropriate
  • Use file formats easily read with screen reader software (e.g., .docx, .doc, .rtf., .txt, DAISY, or accessible PDF’s)
  • Use accessible labels such as large print, braille, or tactile dots on equipment, tools, and documents
  • Provide optical magnification devices when appropriate
  • Use e-mail and/or voicemail instead of hand-written notes
  • Assign human readers to help with printed and hand-written materials that cannot be converted electronically
  • Adjust the work schedule to allow the use of public transportation
  • Be flexible when assigning job tasks

Examples of High-Tech Accommodations

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