Low Vision Center / Training Programs

The Tri-State Independent Blind Society continues to operate Iowa's first Low-Vision Center established in 1982, as well as training programs for the blind and visually impaired in the Tri-State area.

Services Offered

  • Come browse in our eye store, where we provide assistance in finding appropriate aids and modified equipment, such as magnifiers and talking clocks, watches, scales and Big Button Phones.
  • Home visits to include evaluating your home for safety issues along with marking appliances to maintain independence.
  • Submits applications for library services on behalf of blind and visually impaired persons, such as large print, talking books and braille reading material.
  • Submits applications on behalf of the blind and visually impaired persons for free unlimited telephone directory assistance.
  • Teaches skills to allow visually impaired people to maintain maximum independence in their living environment, i.e. food preparation, cleaning, laundering, other household tasks and management.
  • Provides support and counseling in coping with and adjusting to loss of vision.
  • Advises clients of resources, available aids and general information.
  • We offer weekly activities such as game days, crafts, movies and other social & recreational activities. We hold monthly membership meetings and provide transportation for our activities.
  • Encourages tri-state area employers to hire visually, physically and otherwise uniquely challenged persons in securing job positions as a part of regular staff.
  • Assists with appropriate training and makes recommendations for reasonable accommodations on job sites to facilitate continued employment.
  • Teaching of alternative skills of blindness, such as braille, cane travel and alternative communication skills.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is low vision?

Low vision is defined as vision which cannot be corrected by conventional glasses and which keeps the individual from being able to do the things s/he wants to do.

Is Low Vision the Same as Blind?

No! Blindness is a total lack of vision. Unfortunately, many people become confused because we use the term 'legally blind' which applies to some persons who have some useable vision. 85 percent of legally blind persons have some usable sight, but because the word 'blind' is used to describe them, they are often mistaken for someone totally without sight. Low vision persons can use their sight, with help. The amount of sight and how it is used will vary from person to person. The recommendation is that the word 'blind' be avoided in any form except where absolutely necessary for legal reasons such as government benefits. Blindness is a state of mind as well as a physical impairment.

Can a Low Vision Specialist Help Me?

A lot depends upon you, the low vision patient. You cannot be helped, no matter how good the low vision specialist is, unless you want to be helped and put forth the necessary effort to obtain success. Also, you determine what constitutes success or failure. Success to one person may be failure to another. Listen carefully to what the low vision specialist says s/he can do for you and be certain that what can be done is what you really want. The only way to be sure is to have a comprehensive low vision exam.

How can Low Vision Patients be Helped?

The low vision specialist employs some extra examination techniques and uses special lenses and low vision aids. The specialist also works in cooperation with mobility instructors, educators, social workers and other doctors and specialists to provide you the additional training and instruction that may benefit you and increase your chances for success.

What are Low Vision Aids?

Low vision aids are devices which help people use their vision to better advantage. These aids may be optical lenses, such as magnifiers or telescopes, or non-optical devices, such as visors, filters, reading slits, reading stands, lamp and large print.

How do Low Vision Aids Work?

Low vision aids may make things larger or appear larger; they may make things brighter or clearer; they may improve the contrast. Some aids do more than one of the above things, but generally, all low vision aids make it easier to see something. They usually require you to hold things closer to see them, or they limit the field of vision as binoculars do.

Will I Hurt My Eyes by Holding the Print Too Close?

No! With many low-vision optical aids you will have to be close to see clearly through the lens. This will not hurt your eyes at all, although being close to see may seem awkward to you if you were accustomed to reading things at a standard distance. Reading with the aids will be difficult at first. It may cause eye fatigue, headaches, watering of your eyes, or a combination. Be certain to select a comfortable amount of light, work in a comfortable chair and with time, all these discomforts will disappear and you'll find yourself reading with the aid comfortably.

Will Viewing Television Too Close Harm My Eyes?

Doctors agree that there is little danger in sitting close to any television in good condition. There seems to be general agreement that maintaining a distance of at least 2-3 feet in front of the TV reduces any changes of being harmed by radiation.

The Most Important Factor in Successful Low Vision Care is YOU!

If you, a friend or relative, finds it difficult to perform such tasks as reading newspapers, mail, bus numbers, or watching television and you have received the latest and finest medical attention by an opthalmologist and have been told "there is nothing else that can be done," then a Low Vision Evaluation may be of benefit to you.

Call 563-556-8746 to make an appointment or order products. M-F (9-4).

Jumbo 2016 calendars are available.

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