Person With Vision Loss
"Second Sense is all about helping people learn to live happily with vision loss. They are all about the possibilities."
Often the most difficult step to take is that first one. When you lose your vision, you can feel isolated and overwhelmed. Second Sense will help you navigate your way through unfamiliar territory, finding the right tools, the right resources and the right training to get you back to living your life on your terms.
Some of the first steps you can take are listed below. For more information, please call us at 312-236-8569 or send an email to Polly Abbott. We are eager to help.
Ten Steps to Maintain Your Lifestyle
- Clarify diagnosis and prognosis of your eye condition with a medical eye care professional. Make sure you understand how the eye condition affects your field of vision and acuity. Find out if there is a diagnosis of “legal blindness” (acuity of less than 20/200 in best corrected eye or visual field less than 20 degrees), and if so, get a letter from your doctor as proof. Copies of this letter may be used as proof of vision loss when registering for different services.
- See a Low Vision Optometrist for a low vision assessment to determine what needs exist for magnification, lighting and contrast. Obtain magnification devices. If your ability to pay for these aids is an issue, consider checking for funding or other assistance through:
- Illinois Assistive Technology Program 800-852-5110
- Centers for Independent Living (Ask about the Elder Blind Grant). Find the closest center online at www.ilusa.com/links/ilcenters.htm
- Local public libraries sometimes also have CCTVs (video magnifiers) for loan
- Call the local blindness agency, state department of rehabilitation services/bureau of blind services or veterans’ hospital for assessment and instruction of daily living skills and orientation and mobility training. Be aware of what services and programs are offered in your area.
- Illinois Center for Education and Rehabilitation 312-633-3520
- Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration 708-202-8387
- American Foundation for the Blind 800-232-5463 (To find services in your area)
- Obtain catalogues of independent living aids.
- Stay involved with friends and relatives. Learn new independent living techniques to maintain your independence. Learn from the vision rehabilitation professionals who are trained to help you.
- Sign up for FREE 411. Call the telephone service provider and speak to the Customer Service/special needs department to request free 411. They will send a form to be completed by a medical doctor. After sending it back, directory assistance calls will not be charged within your local calling area. (This is an example of when a letter from your doctor describing your vision loss would be very helpful).
- Sign up for reduced fare and paratransit service by contacting the RTA ADA Paratransit Certification Program at 312-663-4357.
- Sign up for other services to keep you informed:
- National Library Service Talking Book Program (books and magazines on tape and descriptive videos sent to you free). Call 888-657-7323 to connect to a local library.
- Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (digital audio books). Call 800-221-4792 or visit www.rfbd.org.
- NFB Newsline (free access to newspapers, magazines and TV listings from across the country at anytime via the telephone). Call 866-504-7300 for a registration form or visit www.nfbnewsline.org. This service may also be acquired through your Talking Book center.
- Attend a support group to get connected with others with vision loss issues. Attend conferences and workshops to network and educate yourself so you can participate in your rehabilitation therapy. Be willing to change your views of what vision loss means by confronting stereotypes.
- Looking Ahead, Second Sense's support group, focuses on topics such as independence, anger management, coping strategies and depression awareness.
- Second Sense also offers an RP Support Group and other groups focusing on specific eye conditions. See our program descriptions for more details.
- Contact Second Sense to find out if there is a support group in your area (Chicago metropolitan-area only). Call Kathy Austin at 312-236-8569 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Continue to see your eye care professional at least once a year to monitor vision health. Many newsletters are available on the latest developments in research and treatments that you can discuss with your doctor.
- Foundation Fighting Blindness, call 800-683-5555 or visit www.fightblindness.org
- Prevent Blindness America, call their Vision Health Resource Center at 800-331-2020 or visit www.preventblindness.org Return to top