Locating and using resources for students with vision problems

Hi Mike and colleagues:

This month is Eye Injury Prevention Month and there is a discussion thread about the topic in the Health Literacy group.  According to the CDC, however, most vision loss is attributed to eye disease:  cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degenerated.  Addressing eye disease and refraction errors (such as near-sightedness and far-sightedness) can remedy 50% of vision problems.  I thought I would cross post here to see if this community has some suggestions.

Do you have students with vision problems?  If so, how do you find it impacts their academic performance?

Do you have suggestions for resources to support students with vision low vision?

Have you ever connected students who need glasses with groups like the Lion’s Club, and how did that go?

Cynthia Zafft

Health Literacy Moderator


Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing this information with us. How many of you are familiar with the Lions Eye Health Program? Here is a link to more information: http://members.lionsclubs.org/EN/serve/sight/eye-health/index.php It is a great resource for persons with suspected vision problems, as well as those who need glasses, but may not have insurance or money to get them.

You can find a participating optometrist by contacting the Lions Club to  learn who the Sight Chairperson is in your area.

Service Activities Division
Lions Clubs International
300 W 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL  60523-8842  USA

If anyone has a story about working with the Lions Eye Health Program, please share it with us. It's always good to hear firsthand accounts of programs that support learners.



Connecting with a local Lion's club is a great idea. A family member is an active Lion, and their club truly enjoys doing fundraisers at places like restaurants and airshows. In addition, they recycle cans to raise funds for vision supports. They are always on the lookout for people with vision difficulties to assist, as well as for donations of used eye glasses. Many Lion's Clubs are also actively looking for new members, which could potentially be a way for adult learners who have benefitted from vision services to "give back" to others in the adult learner community.


Thanks for sharing your family member's experience, Margaret.  The Lions Club website has a club locator to help find the Lions Club nearest your program and a description of how they organize a vision screening event.  That might make an interesting activity for October, Health Literacy Month.  


Dear Colleagues:

Adjusting the visual environment in your classroom helps all students!  Dr. Richard Gacka serves as the Learning Differences specialist for the ABE Professional Development System Content Expert Grant in Pennslyvania.  He maintains the Learning Differences Resource Website and Tips page that includes a document with suggestions on how to improve visual reception in your classroom and program.  Here’s how he frames this important work:

“Visual Reception serves as a "front door" but in this case the main doorway through which objects, pictures, drawings, cartoons, text, etc. must pass in order to move to higher-level processing."

Tips to Improve Visual Reception document.

Tips main page

Since many diseases that cause vision loss have few symptoms, students still need that second step, too: a comprehensive dilated eye exam.