Helpful Products and Technology for Living with Vision Loss

Several guides can help you locate the best products to help you adjust to vision loss:

  • American Foundation for the Blind Product Search. This is a comprehensive listing of assistive technology products used by people who are blind or visually impaired. It is the place to go to search for a product or manufacturer, find out what products are out there, and decide which product is best for you, a family member, or one of your clients. You can browse by task, product category, or manufacturer.
  • You can link to product reviews published in AccessWorld®, AFB's online technology magazine. Be sure to read AccessWorld's article on Selecting Products for Seniors with Vision Loss.
  • Specialty Products Sources. Many products are available in the marketplace to help you live more independently with vision loss. AFB has compiled a comprehensive list of specialty resources to help you find what you need. If you know of a resource that we do not have in our list, please let us know at visionaware@afb.net.
  • AbleData. This site provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources. AbleData does not sell these products, but can help you locate the companies that do.

Peer Advisor Sheila Rousey: Don't Be Afraid to Take Up the New Smartphones and Other iDevices!

Sheila Rousey and her guide dog

Sheila Rousey with her guide dog

Giving Up My Flip Phone

Like many of you who still use those good old flip phones for your communication needs, I also resisted giving up my flip phone until one day when I accidentally took it swimming with me. It fell into salt water and had a massive seizure. My little flip phone was dead. So my daughter insisted that I get my first smartphone.

Learning About My First Smartphone

When I got it, it did take me some time to get used to swiping tapping, flicking, and touching a smooth screen but I finally got the hang of it. I use the Siri feature all of the time now. She can do almost everything except drive me around and cook a meal.

Basic Concepts to Learn

There are some very basic concepts that everyone who is blind or visually impaired should know when using most Apple iDevices. The great news is that if you can learn to navigate around on one of your devices, such as an iPad, you will find that you can also use those same skills for navigating a smart phone or iPod touch.

It's Important to Have a Point of Reference

One basic problem encountered by new users who are visually impaired is that there is no point of reference or simple description of the flat screen. In other words, if you don't know where you are, you cannot get to where you want to go or do what you want to do.

With a little practice, and one single gesture, I discovered there are actually some common landmarks that can be learned and used as easily as I had used my flip phone's keypad.

Read more from Sheila at Are You Afraid to Take Up the New Smartphones and other iDevices? at the Visually Impaired: Now What? blog. Also read Cell Phones, Tablets, and iDevices.

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