Visual Impairments

Visual Impairments

Total blindness is the inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see. Visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces a person’s ability to function at certain or all tasks. Legal blindness (which is actually a severe visual impairment) refers to a best-corrected central vision of 20/200 or worse in the better eye or a visual acuity of better than 20/200 but with a visual field no greater than 20° (e.g., side vision that is so reduced that it appears as if the person is looking through a tunnel).  Taken from


Massachusetts Resources

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) 

Statewide resource for coordination vision professional services. Includes Certified Orientation Mobility Specialist (COMS),Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), Certified Low Vision Therapist (CLVT), Assistive Technology Specialist, Deaf/Blind Specialist, Rehabilitation Teacher, Vocational Counselor, Case manager, Children’s Rehabilitation Case manager.
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 800-392-6450 (Massachusetts Only) or 617 727-5550 or TDD: 800 392-6556 (Mass only)
Fax: 617-626-7685

Carroll Center for the Blind 

Provides training adaptive devices to individuals of all ages who have lost their sight.
Offers low vision evaluation, campus and community rehabilitation, educational support services, technology services,  senior services and online learning.
770 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02458
Toll Free: 800-852-3131
Phone: 617-969-6200

Blindness and Vision Impairment Resources from the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

There are lots of useful resources here. These resources are dedicated to raising awareness of resources for individuals with vision impairment, legal blindness or deaf/blindness and intellectual disability. Includes Daily Living with Vision Loss, Leisure, Communication, and Recreation Resources , Product Catalogs of Aids and Appliances for Vision Loss , Local and National Product National Organizations Dedicated to Vision Loss, Eye Safety, Vision Care and Finding an Eye Care Provider.

Massachusetts Association of Parents of Visually Impaired (MAPVI) 

MAPVI is an affiliate of National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI).
PO Box 382
Watertown, MA 02471

National Braille Press 

Promotes the literacy of blind children through braille and provides access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community affairs.
88 St. Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617 266-6160 or 888 965-8965
Fax: 617 437-0456

National Resources

Learning Ally Serves K-12, college and graduate students, veterans and lifelong learners – all of whom cannot read standard print due to blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Learning Ally has a collection of more than 80,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles.
20 Roszel Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 800-221-4792

American Council of the Blind (ACB)“Updated Pedestrian Safety Handbook” (October 2011) ,
Provides information on programs, services and laws affecting blind persons, scholarship awards, and “Braille Forum” (free monthly publication).
1703 N. Beauregard St., Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 202-467-5081 or 800 424-8666
Fax: 703-465-5085

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)Family Connect – raising a visually impaired child, Career Connect – for job seekers, AFB Senior Site and Professional Development.
2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102
New York, NY 10121
Phone: 212-502-7600
Fax: 888-545-8331

Foundation for Fighting Blindness – Provides information about degenerative retinal diseases like macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentoasa and Usher syndrome.
168 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 100
Columbia, MD 21046
Phone: 410-423-0600
Toll Free: 800-683-5555

Lighthouse Guild – Provides eLearning for healthcare and education professionals. Offers webinars, videos and educational materials.
15 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
Phone: 800-284-4422

National Association of Blind Students, a Division of the NFB (NABS) – Has a local chapter in Massachusetts. Provides information and networking opportunities for students. 
Syed Rizvi
Mailing List

Family Connect  – Online, multimedia community created by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). This site gives parents of visually impaired children a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and link to local resources.

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) – Offers resources in four simple categories: For Living, For Working, For Learning, and For Recreation.
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: 410-659-9314
Fax: 410-685-5653
NFB-Newsline, free electronic newspaper service.

Prevent Blindness  – Offers vision screening programs, information on vision problems, resources and more.
211 West Wacker DR, Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 800-331-2020
Email: – Website for Parents of Children who are Blind a project funded by Perkins School for the Blind, is dedicated to helping parents of young children with visual impairments as well as children with multiple disabilities. provides a database of articles written by parents who want to share with others what they’ve learned about playing with and teaching a child who is blind, as well as links to meaningful resources and ways to connect with other families and ask questions.

Articles on are on diverse topics, from pre-braille skills and how to help a child who is blind sleep through the night to information on how to make an iPad accessible. The site focuses on development and support for families with kids aged 0 to 10 years old. For support and resources of children who are blind.

Other Information:

Additional resources can be found on the Alternative Reading Formats Fact Sheet.

Fact Sheet last updated on: 8/17/2021


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