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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Esther's Place Virtual Tour

Our most compelling feature at the Center on Vision Loss is Esther's Place, an 1800-square-foot fully furnished model home designed with accommodations for people with vision loss in mind using color and texture contrast, and lighting options. Our goal is to help people with low vision discover ways to enhance their ability to live as independently as possible despite their loss of vision.

Upon entering the Center, you will notice that the flooring is different depending on where you are in the building. The front entrance is carpeted and surrounded by tile. Transition points are marked by wood, and pathways throughout the center are carpeted. Dark doorframes are easy to see against white walls. Lighting is used in various ways to help you determine what type works best for you.

the center’s contrasting floor textures and colors example of hallway lighting

Each room in Esther’s Place has various adaptations and products on display that you can try for yourself. Upon entering the foyer you will view the non-essential high contrast trim around openings to enhance visibility. The entrance here is tile and contrasts with the floors in adjoining rooms. The lighting is controlled by dimmer switches.

Black edging on doorframes, contrasting flooring in adjoining rooms

Kitchen Adaptations

Esther’s kitchen has many examples of low-and high-tech solutions. Would an electronic bar code reader be helpful when you are looking for a particular canned vegetable in your pantry, or would a braille or large print label work just as effectively? Tactile markings on the stove, oven, and microwave illustrate how a person with low or no vision can use appliances with confidence.

A red apple on a white cutting board illuminated by a desk lamp Marked dials on stove
Low tech solutions can be effective.

One way to navigate in your kitchen safely is to use color contrast. The tan cabinets contrast with the rust countertops which also contrast with the light floor and the black cabinet and drawer pulls are easier for you to see and grab.

tan cabinets with black pulls, under cabinet lighting, rust countertops contrasting cabinet liner to plates

An inexpensive change you can make is to install a switch plate that contrasts with the wall. In Esther’s place, the switch plates are black against white walls making them easier to see. You can also try phones that have big buttons, talking caller ID, and braille markings.

high contrast switch plate big button high-contrast phone

Explore more products and kitchen adaptation tips.

Laundry Room

Tactile dots in various colors can be used to mark where temperature or cycle controls can be set on washers and dryers. Some appliances have been modified to make audible tones when the dials are moved.

Washer and dryer with tactile markings

The next room we move to is the Dining room.

Dining Room

In Esther's dining room, the table is set and ready for a meal. The wood furniture and chair seats contrast with the carpet. On the table, one place setting is white on white showing how poor contrast makes it harder to find utensils. Using a high contrast place setting such as dark green plates and silverware on white instead, makes it easier to locate your beverage and eating utensils if you have low vision. A plate guards can help keep your food on the plate. salt and pepper shakers labeled with tactile letters are also available to try.

dark green plate, cup, and silverware against a white placemat clear plate guard Tactile labeled Salt and Pepper shakers

Living Room

Next to the dining room, Esther's living room is set up to maximize your ability to see the TV, with the chair close to and in line with the TV set. The sofa is in a contrasting color to the carpet and throw pillows contrast with the upholstery to make everything easier to see. Several large button remote controls and aids for watching TV are available for you to try. While Esther’s Place does not have any throw rugs, one way to make your own rugs safer to walk on is to put non-slip tape under the edges.

chair in line with TV

Clothing Closet and Storage Room

In the clothing closet and storage room you will see examples of products for organizing your clothes as well as various items that make taking medication much safer. There are various pill organizers that remind you to take your medicine. Some pharmacies offer prescription bottles that have different color bands around the lid to help distinguish your medicine from another family members’ or those taken at different times of day. offering talking prescription bottles free of charge.
You can hear the talking RX here.

Mother and daughter use marker to identify clothing color close up of person using a handheld magnifier to read a 7-day pill organizer

Bathroom Adaptations

The bathroom is one place that can be difficult to navigate due to fear of falling or slipping. This bathroom has a walk-in shower with a fold-down seat that you can attach to your own shower wall.

An important change in the bathroom is to use colorful bath mats inside the shower and non-skid rugs outside to mark where the shower ends for contrast. Brightly colored towels are easier to find against light colored walls and the toilet contrasts with the dark floor. The countertop is a contrasting color to the sink.

Fold down shower seat, with contrasting bath mats and towels Reflective light fixture

Near the sink is a non-skid pad for appliance safety and contrast, a scale that speaks your weight aloud, and several styles of magnifying mirrors.

Bedroom Adaptations

Esther's bedroom features products for people with hearing and vision loss as well as talking clocks, watches, wallets and money identifiers to help you explore a variety of time and money management options. Cell phones with bigger buttons are also available for you to try.
Hear a talking clock.

woman using assistive listening device iBill money identifier Jitterbug, an easy to dial cell phone

Esther’s Place also has a stairway to show how you can live in a home with stairs. By adding texture strips and lighting to enhance safety, you will be less likely to fall. Contrast on bannisters and on stair edges also help navigate easily.

Red and white contrasting bannister and stair

Esther’s Office

Whether you are a student, a professional, or a retired individual, Esther’s office will help you find accommodations and products to help you read, use the computer, keep addresses and phone numbers organized, and manage your personal finances. You can even produce a document in braille with our embosser and experience built-in accessibility with a variety of Apple products. You can find more office adaptations here.

File folders with large print tabs woman using a letter writing guide and bold line pen

Keeping Fit After Vision Loss

Having fun and keeping fit is important. You will find information on hobbies, adapted games and much more in Esther's fun and fitness room. There's no need to give up doing things like arts and crafts just because your vision is changing. However, you may have to do things differently; it's a matter of finding the solution that is right for you. Our fun and fitness room is especially helpful for parents with children who have vision loss as they try out games they can play with their friends.

Family viewing a large print crossword puzzle bookHands in gardening gloves tending herbs in containers
visitors browsing the library

Assistive Technology Showroom

The assistive technology showroom at the Center is a place to explore possibilities for access to print and computers whether you are visually impaired or totally blind. We have video magnifiers that range from desktop models with 24 inch LCD monitors to pocket-size models with 4 inch screens. Devices to turn printed text into spoken word also range from desktop models to pocket size. Software to enlarge the text on the computer screen, as well as speak the text aloud, is on display and ready for you to try. More assistive technologies can be found here.

Topaz, a desktop video magnifier Reading a newspaper with QuickLook

services icon Directory of Services

book icon Featured Book

Aging and Vision LossA Handbook for Families

Aging and Vision Loss:

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