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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Lessons for Living with Vision Loss

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Introduction for Users with Vision Loss

by Lynda Jones, CVRT

Peer Advisor, Lynda Jones

(Click here for the Introduction for Professionals)

Welcome to Lessons for Living with Vision Loss brought to you by AFB VisionAware! Through this series of 19 lessons, you will learn about your eye condition and ways to get around safely in your home, and you'll develop basic techniques to perform your daily tasks. Many of these techniques you already use every day without your vision, but you probably don't realize it. For example, no one who drives a car ever looks at his feet to move from the gas pedal to the brake. Everyone has reached into a pocket and pulled out house keys, a quarter, or something else typically carried in a pocket, using only the sense of touch. The taste or smell of a glass of milk lets you determine if it's fresh or sour. In truth, not one task is done using only vision. It's impossible to brush your teeth, write a check, or make a sandwich without using your fingers, hands, and arms. Learning to gather information from all of your senses and develop the techniques presented in this course can help you become productive again and live more independently as well as interdependently. So, take heart, participate in this course!

Techniques essential for successful living in every area of daily life are covered in this course. Lesson 1 gives you a brief overview of the anatomy of the eye and discusses several age-related eye conditions that cause vision loss and how those conditions affect daily activities. Lesson 3 and Lesson 4 introduce you to more than 20 helpful techniques you can use to perform tasks with little or no vision, including how to use your senses more efficiently. Lesson 9 focuses on techniques for organizing and labeling everything at home and at work, and Lesson 7 describes ways to use your remaining vision better.

Each lesson has several goals to guide you through your study. At the end of each lesson are four or five learning checks to help you remember the information. An example from this introduction might be:

Which sense would you use to tell if a glass of milk is fresh or spoiled?

  1. Smell
  2. Hearing
  3. Vision
  4. Touch

Answer: a

Each lesson provides links to other websites connecting you to more in-depth information about related topics.

Helpful Suggestions

  1. You do not have to take the lessons in order. However, we do suggest that you take Lessons 1, 3, and 4 first. These lessons are used as building blocks for the techniques and information presented in the other lessons.

  2. You may revisit a lesson as many times as you want. We suggest that you take your time as you read through each lesson. Don't hesitate to read through a section several times and take notes if you wish, especially about techniques you want to try later. In fact, stop and try the techniques when you encounter them in the lessons. If you want to work on a part of a lesson one day and finish it the next, just shut down and reopen it again when you are ready to continue. If it would be easier to have a print copy of a lesson, feel free to make one. There is a print function on each page.

  3. There is a short survey at the end of each lesson to provide feedback. Please include your e-mail address if you have specific questions about a lesson that you would like answered. Or you can e-mail visionaware@afb.net for additional help.

  4. VisionAware is here to make sure you obtain the help you need to cope with losing vision. If you have not been able to locate a vision rehabilitation agency or professional who can help you with your vision loss, please e-mail us or use our directory to find services in your area: www.afb.org/directory.

Accessing the Lessons

If your visual impairment makes it difficult or impossible to read the text of these lessons, consider the following options.

  1. Have someone—a family member or friend—read them to you. Two benefits of this approach are sharing the information with important people in your life and discussing the material with another person.

  2. If you have usable vision, use the screen magnification built into your computer or tablet. If you use Windows, you can press the Windows key and the + (plus) sign combination to enlarge the screen text up to 16 times. To reduce the text size, use the Windows key and the – (minus) sign. More Windows shortcuts for navigation are available.

  3. Use screen access software such as JAWS or NVDA. Look at the end of Lesson 19: Resources for Restoring Your Technology Skills to find numerous helpful links or contact your nearest agency serving adults with vision loss for training.

Note: There is a short survey at the end of each lesson to provide feedback. Include your e-mail address if you have specific questions that you would like answered.

Click here to begin Lesson 1: Anatomy and Diseases of the Eye.


Introduction for Professionals Serving Seniors with Visual Impairments

These lessons are designed to help you as a professional assist people who are new to vision loss and their families in learning simple techniques for everyday tasks. The lessons can be used to reinforce one-on-one lessons you provide in client homes or group lessons you teach at a rehabilitation facility. They are not meant as a substitute for vision rehabilitation training.

Techniques essential for successful living in every area of daily life are covered in this series of 19 lessons. Lesson 1, Lesson 3, and Lesson 4 are to be used as building blocks for the techniques and information presented in the other lessons. The remaining lessons can be used in sequence or stand alone.

Each lesson includes goals and learning checks. For example, the second goal in Lesson 1 states: "Explain six age-related eye diseases, including the part of the eye affected by each disease, the effects of each disease on vision, and the treatments for each disease." A learning check that would support this goal is:

Which part of the eye is most affected by diabetic retinopathy?

  1. Cornea
  2. Retina
  3. Optic Nerve
  4. Ocular Lens

Answer: b

In addition, the lessons provide helpful links to information available through AFB's family of websites, including VisionAware and AccessWorld.

Please feel free to print these lessons and leave them with consumers and their family members who can also benefit from the information.

Note: There is a short survey at the end of each lesson to provide feedback. Include your e-mail address if you have specific questions that you would like answered.

The Lessons for Living series was developed by AFB VisionAware through an award from the OIB-TAC at Mississippi State University. This sub-award is from a grant (#H177Z150003) funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) under the U.S. Department of Education.

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