This is what a person with macular degeneration sees.

What is blindness?

Legal blindness is defined in several ways.  One is that a person has vision of 20/200 or less and it cannot be corrected.  This means that this person sees at 20 feet what a normally sighted person can see at 200 feet away.  Another way a person can have blindness is to not have a total "visual field".  This means that a person cannot see the whole scene as a normally sighted person can.  This is measured in degrees.  A person with a visual field of less than 20 degrees is considered legally blind.  Normally sighted people have a visual field of 180 degrees in a normal eye.  

What causes blindness?

Blindness has many causes.  In the United States, the leading causes are diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and accidents (such a chemical burns or sports injuries).  Other causes of blindness include: blockec blood vessels, complications of premature birth, and complications of eye surgery.  

Can you see and still be legally blind?

The degrees of blindness vary.  The totally blind have no light perception at all.  Other individuals who have blindness may be able to distinguish between light and dark.  Some may be able to tell the direction the light is coming from, while others may be able to distinguish hand motions.  

Others can see but their field of vision is obstructed due to a visual impairment such as glaucoma or cataracts.    

What should you do when you meet a blind person?

  • If you walk with a blind person, let them grip your arm above the elbow.  Don't push them!  The motion of your body will tell them what to expect.  (holding hands is not the same)
  • If they are alone, always identify yourself when entering a room where a blind person is.  Don't play "guess who" games!
  • Always talk directly to the person, not through a companion.  A blind person can hear as well as you, sometimes better. 
  • Give directions as clearly as possible.  Left or right according to the way they are facing. 
  • When showing a blind person to a chair, put their hand on the back of the chair.  They will be able to seat themselves easily. 
  • If you eat with a blind person, read the menu and prices.  If they want help, cut the meat, fix the coffee etc.  Tell them the position of the various foods on the plate clockwise starting at 12 o'clock. 
  • If they have a dog, remember that the dog is a working dog, not a pet!  Don't divert the dog's attention or touch him- his master's life depends on his alertness.  

Does the blind association collect old eyeglasses?

Yes, we recycle the frames and provide frames for individuals who do not have eye insurance in our local community.  

How do I become a client?

Call The Blind Association at 724-287-4059 and schedule an appointment for an intake.  An eye doctor form will need to be completed.