UW Combined Fund Drive

September 26, 2023

October is Blindness Awareness Month

a child reading brailleOctober is National Blindness Awareness Month, an initiative started to help the public understand the realities of visual impairment and how it affects the world population. 

According to recent CDC data, approximately six million Americans have vision loss and one million have blindness

Navigating the world as a blind person or someone with limited sight is challenging. Nearly all parts of our built environment were designed without taking into consideration the needs of those with disabilities, including blindness.

Those who cannot see, and their perceived limitations, are frequently stigmatized in our society. 

As a result of stigma and access barriers, the unemployment rate for the blind and visually impaired is higher than the average population, even within the disability community – around 70%. 

Employment barriers for the blind and visually impaired can range from a lack of transportation to the misconception by employers that accommodations for blind or low vision employees are beyond their reach. 

Due to high levels of unemployment blindness or loss of sight exacerbates poverty and can lead to financial insecurity and social isolation. This can also result in limited access to health-care services and other social services.  


Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to one of our CFD member organizations working to support the blind and low vision community locally and across the country: 

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) (Charity Code: 1479954) builds community and provides equitable access to information and reading materials for Washington residents unable to read standard print. The WTBBL provides library services state-wide, at the library and by mail, to any Washington resident unable to read standard print material due to blindness, visual impairment, deaf-blindness, physical disability (cannot hold a book or turn pages) or reading disability. In 2021 they served nearly 8,000 individual readers including over 1,000 new patrons. 

The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. (Charity Code: 0315981 ) is an industry leader in making jobs accessible for employees who are blind and DeafBlind. They have been empowering people who are blind to be independent and live rich and fulfilling lives since 1918. Lighhouse’s philosophy maintains that each employee be provided with whatever supports are necessary for success in the workplace. Supports include an in-house sign language interpreting department to ensure effective communication for employees who are DeafBlind, staff mobility instructors to teach independent travel with a white cane or dog guide, and over 100 computer workstations adapted for use by individuals who are visually impaired. 

Lilac Services for the Blind (Charity Code: 0315704) provides people in the Inland Northwest who are blind or have low vision with the training and adaptive devices to allow them to live satisfying lives by restoring, maintaining, or increasing their independence. Lilac Services for the Blind helps people with vision loss reach their potential level of independence and lead rich, satisfying lives. By providing personalized in-home independent living instruction, training, adaptive devices such as lighted magnifiers and big-buttoned phones, and overall support, our clients are able to regain and maintain skills that are affected by their loss of vision. 

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (Charity Code: 0315946) has the mission to drive the research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and vision restoration for the spectrum of degenerative retinal diseases, specifically macular degeneration – including age related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease and Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Together these conditions affect more than 10 million Americans and millions more throughout the world.