Help Us Ease the Impact of COVID-19 for People With Visual Impairments

General Low Vision News
April 02, 2020

#eSightTogether offer an online platform to help people with low vision navigate COVID-19

It’s been two weeks of quarantine for North Americans.  Two weeks of uncertainty. Two weeks of change. Yet we’ve seen people from around the world come together to solve the most complex issues we’re facing today. Like the Caremongering group created to support marginalized communities in Canada, or the car manufacturing plants that have shifted focus to create medical equipment for healthcare workers.

While the uncertainty of COVID-19 impacts everyone, those with visual impairments are experiencing this in differently. It’s now time for us to come together to help solve some of the complex issues people with low vision are facing.

It’s now time for us to come together to help solve some of the complex issues people with low vision are facing.


What are the unique COVID-19 challenges for someone who is blind?

It’s important to note that every low vision individual experiences things differently. With that said, here are a few of the common concerns we’ve heard from our own community:

  • Often people who are legally blind manage their sight loss using touch to feel for things like finding the right elevator button, or to receive guided directions.  That is no longer possible in the era of social distancing.

  • A person living with macular degeneration might not be able to see the social distancing markers at the grocery stores and can no longer go with a companion who would guide them otherwise.

  • Someone living with Stargardt’s disease will not have a driver’s license, yet their regular means of transportation are no longer available as services shut down.

  • Social distancing is exceptionally challenging when a person with diabetic retinopathy can’t see how close someone is to them. 

What can you do to help someone who is visually impaired during the pandemic?

COVID-19 continues to evolve. It’s not possible to have all of the answers right now. But we do know that everyone is capable of developing innovative solutions and creative alternatives.

To start, individuals and organizations can:

  • For many it’s instinct to touch someone who is blind to help guide them. Here are some tips on how to help someone while maintaining social distancing.

  • People who are legally blind are highly capable. It’s our perceptions that often need to change. Ask for their guidance on how you can help. Ensure your goods and services are accessible. Consider adding a disabilities phone line like Amazon and Apple, or special hours for vulnerable groups like Loblaws grocery stores.

  • As individuals you can volunteer from home with organizations like Be My Eyes which offers voice support and translation for people who are blind.

  • Help develop creative solutions to things like transportation.

  • Join #eSightTogether

What is eSight doing to support people with visual impairments during COVID-19? #eSightTogether

Here are some of the actions eSight has already taken to ease the impact for people with low vision, eye care professionals and employees:

These are uneasy times for everyone, but with creative solutions and a solidified voice we can get through this as a stronger community. #eSightTogether.

-Bob Vaters
President and CEO of eSight Eyewear

Bob Vaters headshot as he encourages everyone to help ease Covid-19 for people with visual impairments as part of #eSightTogether