Blind & Visually Impaired

According to the American Foundation® for the Blind, there are already more than 25 million Americans with vision loss. There are a multitude of eye conditions that cause individuals to become visually impaired or blind. Some of these conditions include:

Amblyopia—when an individual’s vision does not develop properly in early childhood because the eye and brain are not working together correctly.

You may have also heard this condition called “lazy eye” because it typically affects one eye. Symptoms include blurred vision. If untreated, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision problems.

Aniridia—is a rare condition where the iris of the eye is partially or completely absent. It is typically present at birth.

Anopthalmia—is a rare condition that occurs when one or both eyes do not form during pregnancy. Blindness results when both eyes are affected.

Congenital Eye Defects—can be any of many conditions present at birth that affect the child’s eyes or vision. Some conditions are passed on through genes. In other cases (such as vision loss due to German measles) result from a disease or deficiency during pregnancy.

Glaucoma—is a condition that develops when the pressure of the fluid inside the eye is too high. It results in a loss of peripheral vision. If glaucoma is left untreated, the pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness.

Legal Blindness—In order for an individual to qualify for benefits, the law defines visual impairment at a level where the visual acuity is 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Resources online
The good news is that assistive technology (AT) helps individuals to obtain an education as well as employment. Some of the AT include programs (that run on computers) with spoken text on the screen, word processors with magnified text, standalone PDAs, electronic book players, optical character recognition systems that scan printed material and speak the text and braille embossers that turn text files into hard copy braille.

Here are some children resources for books, toys and activities:

  • Seedlings Braille Books for Children, high quality and low cost children’s literature in Braille. For a catalog call 1 800 777-8552.
  • Tactile Vision, Inc. specializes in raised images and print/Braille cards.
  • Discovery Toys offers great toys for blind kids at
  • The Braille Bookstore has books, games, toys and much more at

If you are a parent and looking for information to help you raise a child who is blind or visually impaired, log online

In NJ visit

For assistance in New Jersey, contact the State of NJ Department of Human Services Commission For the Blind and Visually Impaired located at 153 Halsey Street, 6th Floor, Newark, NJ 07101. Or, call 1 973 648-3333 or toll-free at 1 877-685-8878.

For additional information contact one of the following associations:

American Foundation for the Blind at or call 1-212-502-7600.

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired at

Jewish Guild for the Blind (free tele-support groups) at