AFB’s Ph.D.-level research staff conduct original studies to generate knowledge about the experiences of people who are blind or have low vision. Our research has highlighted systematic barriers and inequities in areas such as digital information access, transportation, education, and employment. Each research report provides detailed recommendations for policymakers, business leaders, school administrators, and others to expand opportunities for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Furthermore, we provide a reader-friendly, printable executive summary that highlights the main findings of each study. In addition to our research reports, we have compiled a collection of action-oriented toolkits and research briefs that offer easily digestible actions based on our research.

You can find the latest statistical data on Americans who are blind and have low vision by accessing AFB’s Statistical Snapshots resource page. Additionally, the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) provides the most recent scholarly research on blindness and low vision from the broader field.

Research Study Reports

Barriers to Digital Inclusion (BDIS) Series

Researchers at AFB conducted the Barriers to Digital Inclusion Survey (BDIS) to learn about the prevalence and impacts of digital inclusion barriers faced by individuals who are blind, have low vision, or are deafblind.

Workplace Technology Study (WTS)

In 2021, AFB researchers surveyed 323 blind and low vision individuals who were employed to learn how technology influences their experiences in the workplace and what access gaps still exist.

Access and Engagement Education Research Series

These collaborative studies, conducted from 2020 to 2022, investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education of children and youth who are blind or have low vision, including those with multiple disabilities and deafblindness.

Research on Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun in the United States, the American Foundation for the Blind took the lead in the Flatten Inaccessibility study. The purpose of the study was to learn how those who were blind or have low vision were affected early on by the pandemic.

During the summer of 2021, AFB researchers conducted the Journey Forward survey to understand the pandemic’s ongoing impact on access to transportation, healthcare, and other essential services for people who are blind or have low vision in the United States.

The Role of Guide Dogs in 2022 and Beyond

In a two-year mixed-methods research project, Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) partnered with AFB researchers to examine trends and issues related to travel and guide dog use in the United States and Canada.

Project VISITOR: Transportation Research

In 2018 and 2019, the research team for the Visually Impaired Seniors’ Independent Travel Opportunities and Resources (Project VISITOR) conducted a survey of organizations and individuals across the United States to identify current promising practices, challenges, and solutions related to transportation for seniors who are blind or have low vision.

Toolkits and Research Briefs

Accessible Ed Tech Resources

Inaccessible Ed Tech Is a Barrier to Digital Inclusion for Blind and Low Vision Students. Learn about the problem and what ed tech creators and educational leaders can do to promote full digital inclusion in the classroom.

Digital inclusion Toolkits for Students, Families, Educators, and School Administrators

Based on the findings from our Access and Engagement research, AFB researchers created a series of toolkits for students, families, teachers, and administrators. Learn how to build IEPs that incorporate digital inclusion, implement it in the classroom, and advocate with school leaders and lawmakers.

Toolkit for HR Managers and Hiring Professionals

Based on the findings from our Workplace Technology Study, we created a helpful toolkit for HR leaders and hiring managers on building an accessible workplace for blind and low vision employees. Steps for Success: Hiring, Onboarding, and Retaining People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision provides key best insight, practices, and guidance to assure barriers to opportunity don’t stand in the way of workplace inclusion.

Best Practices Guide for Hospitals

Individuals who are blind, have low vision, or are deafblind often experience barriers and challenges in seeking out and receiving healthcare. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) received a grant from the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation to develop an understanding of the barriers and challenges experienced by those with vision loss and to develop materials to support healthcare workers to better meet the needs of the population.