Losing your sight can be a traumatic experience, but grants, scholarships and awards are available for people who are suffering from visual impairment by providing financial assistance. Whatever your circumstances, whether you are partially sighted, totally blind or require glasses, help is available. Government agencies and charities provide funding to help if you are out of work.
Visual impairment covers a wide range of visual problems, ranging from near or far-sightedness, which can be corrected with glasses, to total blindness caused by glaucoma or cataracts.
State government agencies offer several types of help, including support for buying eye glasses, eye exams, glaucoma screening and providing adaptive aids for the home. Contact your state's aging agency directly. There is also a tax deduction for blindness and details of this are also available from your state's agency for the visually impaired.
Lighthouse International recognizes outstanding students who have overcome their blindness and gives them grants to help fund their college or graduate studies. Applications are made via its website and must be submitted by an annual deadline. These require statements of visual status from your ophthalmologist, documentary evidence of your academic record and school status, plus two recommendations from people outside your family. You also need to write two essays summarizing academic achievements, career goals, study interests and extra curricular activities.
Several organizations help people with visual impairment. These include the National Eye Care Project, based in San Francisco, which gives medical and surgical assistance to financially-challenged people over age 65. It puts people in touch with an eye doctor who can treat them for free. The Knights Templar Eye Foundation in Chicago, is a charitable organisation which provides research into eye conditions but also pays for surgical treatment and hospital care for people who suffer eye diseases or injuries. New Eyes for the Needy is a charity that provides glasses for those who cannot afford to pay for them.
Getting Back to Work
Help is also available for those who have suffered visual impairment who want to get back to work. The Disability gov website provides links to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which allows people with disabilities to work and still receive financial help and medical aid. Tax credits are also available and more information is available at the website.
- eye image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com