Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
Learning that you have a vision issue forces a person to think about what he or she should do next. Questions such as, “What help is available or what are my options for help?”, “Where do I go for help?”, or “What help is available in my area or state?” Dealing with a vision issue requires some information searching and locating the right people or organization to talk to for help. Help is available and ready in every state; people just have to start the process. In the United States, every state has a Department of Human Services, which houses a section called Department of Rehabilitations – Blind services for assisting people with vision issues. The first step is to obtain an application, complete the application and apply to open a personal case.
An eye doctor usually does not know what to tell a person dealing with a vision issue when they can no longer help the person with the issue. When all medicines, procedures or treatments are unsuccessful, the eye doctor must say to the patient, “There’s nothing else I can do for you!” Then the person with the vision issue is on his or her own to find out what to do next.
What should you do next?
The first step is obtaining your medical records from the eye doctor so you know exactly what you are dealing with concerning your eye condition and situation. Most of the vision programs you may qualify for require medical information. If you know your vision condition, you can be sure you fit the requirements for the program because you have the medical records.
Second, begin researching your area for different federal, state, local and private organizations (**National organizations help individuals all over the world!) which provide programs for visually impaired/blind individuals. A good place to start is by doing a Google Internet search. A few suggested word phrase searches include:
A) Federal programs Visually Impaired/Blind Services in State of (place your state’s name)
B) State programs for visually impaired/blind services in State of (your state)
C) Local Government programs for visually impaired/blind services in (your city or county name)
D) National or State Blind Organizations in State of (your state’s name)
E) Using your medical records identify your vision issue and search the condition related to your situation. Use specific names, treatments, procedures or medicines used when treating your vision issue.
F) Ask your eye doctor for other people he/she knows that deal with an eye condition like your condition. Try to contact the person and find out if they have located any helpful programs. A good question to ask is; “What steps have you tried that were helpful in overcoming your vision issue?”
What do you do with the information discovered by doing Internet research?
After completing a detailed Internet search, begin organizing the different programs or services you have located in a systematic format. Organize the different programs in order of how well you meet the requirements for each program. Obtain the necessary documents or application needed to apply for the program. I suggest applying for as many as possible even if you do not meet every requirement because sometimes the person overseeing the program you do not qualify for may know of other programs you do.
Some important topics to think about when dealing with a vision issue:
You need to analyze your situations. Ask yourself some important and difficult questions. You need to decide if you want to commit to doing everything possible to help you overcome your vision issue. Are you interested in learning to do your profession as a visually impaired person or do you think you should learn another form of work? Can you expect to continue to live your life the same manner as you did before losing vision or dealing with your vision issue? Understanding what makes you happy goes a long way in helping to make life with a vision issue a life that is productive and full of self-worth.