Older man who is blind sits on a couch in his living room holding his white cane.

Frequently Asked Questions about Vision Loss

About Vision Loss

How many people are blind or visually impaired in the U.S.?

It is estimated that 4.2 million adult Americans ages 40+ are blind or visually impaired.1 There are approximately 63,657 youth ages 0-21 who are legally blind.

Resources

What is visual acuity?

Visual acuity is the clarity or sharpness of vision. A person with 20/70 visual acuity must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 70 feet.

Resource: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/visual-acuity (opens in new window)

What is low vision?

Low vision is a term used to describe loss of eyesight that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, contacts or medical treatment/surgery. Low vision makes it difficult to accomplish daily tasks.

Resource: http://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/eye-health/low-vision/123 (opens in new window)

What does it mean to be blind?

When someone is completely blind, he or she is unable to see anything with either eye.

Resource: http://www.afb.org/info/blindness-statistics/key-definitions-of-statistical-terms/25 (opens in new window)

What does it mean to be legally blind?

A person is classified as legally blind in the United States when he or she has medically diagnosed central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Resource: http://www.afb.org/info/blindness-statistics/key-definitions-of-statistical-terms/25 (opens in new window)

What causes blindness or visual impairment?

The leading causes of blindness and visual impairment in the United States are: age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. Other eye disorders, eye injuries, premature birth and birth defects can also cause vision loss.

Resource: https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html (opens in new window)

How does visual impairment affect child development?

Envision encourages an early and comprehensive plan for children who are blind or visually impaired, so they can reach their full potential. Our state-of-the-art facility, the Cathy G. Hudson Envision Child Development Center, nurtures children who are blind, visually impaired or typically-sighted in a highly engaging and supportive educational environment. 

What do people who are blind or visual impaired see?

There’s no single answer, because there are different degrees of blindness.

Blind from birth - A person who has never had sight has no perception of light or color.

Went totally blind - Some individuals who have gone completely blind report that they experience complete darkness.

Functional blindness - In the United States, functional blindness refers to visual impairment where vision in the better eye with the best correction with glasses is worse than 20/200.

What people who are functionally blind see depends on the severity of blindness and the form of impairment.

Legally blind - A person may be able to see large objects and people, but they are out of focus. A person who is legally blind may see colors or see in focus at a certain distance (e.g., be able to count fingers in front of the face). In other cases, color acuity may be lost, or all vision is hazy.

Light perception - A person who still has light perception can't form clear images but can tell when the lights are on or off.

Tunnel vision - Vision may or may not be relatively normal, but only within a certain radius. A person with tunnel vision can't see objects except within a cone of less than 10 degrees.

Resourcehttps://www.thoughtco.com/what-do-blind-people-see-4153577 (opens in new window)

What are common eye diseases that may cause visual impairment or blindness?

Stroke: The effects of a stroke depend on which parts of the brain are affected, and can affect body movement, speech, sensory function and even vision.

Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease resulting from diabetes and is the leading cause of new diagnoses of blindness in Americans ages 20 to 74.

Macular degeneration: This eye disease is age-related, caused by the deterioration of the macula, the central part of the retina that is essential for sharp, central vision.

Retinitis pigmentosa: Retinitis pigmentosa, or RP, is a group of inherited eye diseases that cause degeneration of the retina and progressive vision loss.

Cataracts: A cataract clouds the lens of the eye, steadily causing loss of vision as a result of age, traumatic injury, certain diseases, particular medications or long-term exposure to sunlight.

Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a family of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss through damage to the optic nerve. Most people are unaware that they have the disease.

Resource: https://www.envisionus.com/How-We-Help/Education-Outreach

Interacting with or helping someone who is blind or visually impaired

How can I help someone who is blind or visually impaired?

Basic etiquette

If you think someone who is blind may need help navigating, ask first. It’s jarring for anyone to be unexpectedly grabbed or pulled, but especially so for someone who can’t see who’s doing the grabbing. By asking, you give the person a chance to say “yes please” or “no thank you.” If your help is accepted, allow him or her to grasp your arm just above the elbow. That makes it easier for the person to feel your movements and follow on their own terms.

If you see someone who is blind or visually impaired about to encounter danger, be calm and clear when you warn the person. Use specific language such as “there’s a curb right in front of you,” or “the door in front of you is closed,” instead of “watch out!” Also, use directional language such as “to your left” or “directly behind you” rather than “it’s over here.” Think about what information you would want to know if you couldn’t see.

Identify yourself when approaching someone who is blind, or when entering a room with them. Even if the person has met you before, he or she may not recognize you by your voice. In a group setting, address the person by name so they know when you’re talking to them. And inform the person when you depart, so they don’t continue the conversation to an empty room.

Don’t pet or distract a working guide dog. These dogs are busy directing their owners and keeping them safe. Distracting them makes them less effective and can put their owners in danger.

Use “people first” language. No one wants to be labeled by how they are different. It’s kinder, and more accurate, to say "a person who is blind" rather than "a blind person." We are all people first.

Resourcehttp://www.perkins.org/stories/blind-etiquette-six-ways-to-be-gracious-around-people-with-visual-impairments (opens in new window)

Navigation

Giving directions to a person who is blind or visually impaired

When giving directions for how to get from one place to another, people who are not visually impaired tend to use gestures — pointing, looking in the direction referred to, etc. — at least as much as they use verbal cues. That isn't helpful to a person who is blind or has a visual impairment.

Here are basic points to remember when giving directions to anyone who is visually impaired:

Always refer to a specific direction — right or left as it applies to the person you're advising. What is on your right is on the left of the person facing you.

Indicate the approximate distance as well as the direction to a requested location.

Give the approximate number of streets to be crossed to reach the destination. Even if your estimate is off by a block or two, it will give the person a sense of when to stop and ask someone else for further directions in case she or he has overshot the mark.

If possible, provide information about landmarks along the way. Keep in mind that both sounds and scents can be "landmarks."

Resourcehttp://www.afb.org/info/friends-and-family/etiquette/giving-directions/235 (opens in new window)

About Working at Envision

Do I need to include a resume with my online application?

Yes. The hiring manager at Envision will need the information from your resume about your skills to differentiate you from other candidates.

What if I can't upload a resume?

You can e-mail a resume to Goodjobs@envisionus.com or fax it to 316-425-7176.

What benefits does Envision offer?

Envision has a full range of benefits for full-time employees. If you are selected for an interview, you will have an opportunity to learn more.

Do I have to be legally blind to work at Envision?

No. However, as an agency working in the federal AbilityOne (link to internal AbilityOne Page) program, we maintain at least 75 percent “legally blind” employees in certain departments. Many positions are open to all applicants and in all cases, Envision will select the best candidate.

If I am blind and accept a job at Envision will I lose my government benefits?

Employees who are legally blind and receiving SSDI can earn up to a certain dollar amount per month without losing their Medicare or SSDI benefits. Employees who are legally blind and receiving SSI will see a reduction in their SSI cash, but will be able to keep their Medicaid insurance. Envision will work with employees to assist them with maximizing their Envision pay and retain any Social Security benefits.

How many people with visual impairments do you employ?

More than half of Envision’s employees are visually impaired.

What kind of jobs do employees who are visually impaired do at Envision?

The most typical entry-level positions are in manufacturing at our Wichita or Dallas facility, or in retail at one of our 16 base service centers located on military bases throughout the country. Other jobs include accounting, customer service, printing, assistive technology and human resources.

What is the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center?

The William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center (link to www.workforceforall) is aimed at training people who are blind or visually impaired, placing them into skilled positions and providing accessibility inclusion expertise to businesses around the United States.

Does Envision help with relocation?

Envision may cover part of the relocation costs for certain positions. The goal of Envision’s relocation program is to promote a smooth transition for the new hire to your new job and city. Some restrictions apply.

If I relocate, how will I find adequate housing?

During the hiring process, the Human Resources department can assist with locating suitable housing.

Is transportation available?

Reliable transportation to and from work is an important issue for all workers, especially those who are visually impaired. Transportation options for visually impaired employees have been identified and depend on the job you pursue.

What is the dress code at Envision?

In most areas of the Company, employees dress appropriately for the job function or work they are performing. Dress standards range from formal business attire, to business casual, to casual, to work uniforms, depending on the location and work requirements. Safety is a prime consideration in determining suitable dress.

Does Envision have on-the-job training?

Prospective blind employees go through a work trial. The work trial includes 6 to 8 days of training to determine a candidate’s suitability for a position on our team as well as the candidate’s desire to further position the position. For complete details on the Envision work trial, call 888-425-7072. After coming on board, additional training opportunities are made available.

How can I check job opportunities if I do not have regular access to a computer?

The best idea is to use the computer of a friend or family member. If you don’t have a friend or family member with a computer, you can find one at most public libraries, where you can check our website at www.envisionus.com and apply online.

What if I need to update my resume after I have submitted it online?

Fax the update to the Envision recruiter at 316-425-7176.

What happens after I apply for a position?

After you submit your resume, an Envision representative may contact you if you meet the position requirements. Our typical selection process for candidates includes:

  • Accept resumes until applicable deadline
  • Let you know we’ve received your resume
  • Screen applicants to find the best candidates
  • Conduct interviews
  • Make a conditional job offer to the best candidate
  • Conduct background and applicable health screenings, and reference checks
  • Confirm final job offer

Legally blind applicants may also participate in an on-site work trial period, depending on position and location.

Volunteer, donate, or attend an Envision event

How do I learn about volunteer opportunities at Envision?

We have some incredible volunteer opportunities. We would love to have your support in any of these tasks and programs:

  • General Office Help
  • Level Up Program
  • Special Events
  • Homework Club
  • Envision Golf Program
  • Youth and Adult Art Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Envision Everyday retail store

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at Outreach@envisionus.com or at 316-440-1529. Apply to be a volunteer online.

Can I attend an Envision fundraiser?

Envision has two signature events focusing on gathering support for the blind and visually impaired community. 

Golf Fore Vision in Dallas and Golf Fore Vision in Wichita are our annual golf tournaments. 

Our Evening With Envision gala benefits Envision’s programs and services. 

How can I donate to Envision?

By making a charitable donation, you support programs that help so many individuals who are blind or visually impaired find fulfillment, healing and jobs. If you’re interested in making a donation, visit our Donations page.