Vision Loss and Blindness

Some individuals have trouble seeing. Visual problems range from blurred or fuzzy vision to total blindness. Individuals with visual problems differ widely in their needs, skills, personalities, and attitudes. Members with loss of vision can and do serve in Church responsibilities.

Ways to Help Those with Vision Loss

  • Identify yourself when greeting someone who has vision loss, even if the person knows your voice.
  • In social situations, introduce the individual. Bring him or her into the conversation. Identify and introduce others who are present.
  • Talk directly to the person. Do not ask questions through another person. Do not speak in a loud voice. Also, do not assume that other senses are different because of vision loss.
  • Although it is important to be sensitive, do not be afraid to use phrases such as “See what I mean?”
  • Do not be concerned if an individual does not look directly at you. He or she may look down or slightly away from you.
  • Do not assume an individual walking with a cane needs or wants your help. Ask, “May I help you?” or “May I walk with you?” Invite the individual to take your arm, rather than taking his or her arm or pushing in the right direction.
  • When entering a new building, a walk-through helps an individual understand the building’s layout. As you walk together, point out key locations such as safety exits, restrooms, and so forth. Help the individual feel comfortable and safe.
  • Identify food served at social gatherings. If the event is self-serve, offer to help the individual through the line.
  • As early as possible, tell individuals about changes in meeting times or locations so that they can make arrangements for transportation. Offer to help if needed and appropriate.
  • Do not pet, feed, or talk to a guide dog unless the person gives permission. To avoid distracting the dog, act as though it is not there.
  • During the passing of the sacrament, offer to guide the person’s hand to the bread and water.

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Teaching Tips

  • Be aware that the scriptures, the hymnbook, Church magazines, and many manuals, handbooks, study guides, and Church books are available through the Church Distribution Center and at in audio format, in large print, or in braille.
  • Find out what additional resources may be available through regional libraries for the blind.
  • Consider using a larger text size for those who have limited vision.
  • Describe pictures and visual aids. Read what is written on the board. Have someone quietly explain what is happening during videos.
  • Prior to class, discuss with individuals about how they would like to participate.

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