There are many misconceptions about the condition of low vision, Braille Institute and the services for the visually impaired we offer at our centers. We thought Low Vision Awareness Month would be the perfect time to clear up some of these misconceptions so those who may be suffering from low vision, or who may have a loved one suffering from low vision, can better understand the high-quality professional services that are available for them at Braille Institute.

Misconception #1 – Physicians only refer to Braille Institute when clients are going blind. 

Reality: Physicians refer clients with varying degrees of vision loss to Braille Institute to learn how to maximize their remaining vision and maintain independence.  Braille Institute provides a variety of low vision and blind services that are tailored towards helping clients compensate for their vision loss even if the client is not going blind.

Misconception #2 – Braille Institute only provides services to low-income clients.

Reality: Braille Institute is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing services to all clients with vision loss regardless of income. The services that we provide are free and are available to anyone with vision loss with a physician’s referral.

Misconception #3 – Braille Institute gives out free devices and/or glasses.

Reality: Our services are not a substitute for regularly scheduled appointments with an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

All clients at Braille Institute can receive a free low vision evaluation from our low vision specialists who may recommend specific devices to help maintain independence in reading, writing, and other daily activities. The evaluation is a free service provided to the client, however any devices that are recommended will need to be purchased out-of-pocket by the client.

Misconception #4 – Once I understand contrast and lighting, I am “good to go.”

Reality: Contrast and lighting are very important concepts to learn. It is also important to learn how to apply these concepts to maximize remaining vision and maintain independence. The low vision specialists at Braille Institute can help clients learn to apply contrast and lighting concepts throughout a variety of activities of daily living to complete tasks effectively and independently. Clients can also learn how to use lighting and contrast techniques in conjunction with other tools to complete tasks more efficiently.

Misconception #5 – Braille Institute can help me maintain my driver’s license.

Reality: Our staff at Braille Institute understand that driving is an important part of maintaining independence. However, our low vision specialists do not provide services that relate to driving, nor can we discuss devices and/or techniques to help a client maintain a driver’s license.  We can provide technology training used with mobile devices for ride sharing and travel apps.

For specific information regarding your eligibility to continue driving, please contact your physician.

Free Low Vision consultations are offered at each of Braille Institute’s seven Southern California locations. Centers are staffed by certified and licensed Low Vision Specialists who conduct one-on-one examinations. Call 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553) to schedule an appointment, or visit to register for a workshop or consultation.