Future Directions in Blindness and Low Vision Perspectives from a State-of-the-Science Conference

Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: John Brabyn
Publication: Visual Impairment Research, Volume 8, Issue 3, p.61-66 (2006)

This paper discusses the outcomes of a recent state-of-the-science conference on rehabilitation technology and methods in blindness and low vision. The conference goals were to assess the current state of the art and identify the gaps where research or other action is needed. To ensure that real needs were addressed, a third of the participants were blind or visually impaired, while another third were involved in rehabilitation service delivery. Topics addressed included infancy and school-age needs, travel, information access, vocational and daily living needs, access to graphical information, disease and deficit-specific problems and solutions, and functional assessment. In addition to identifying many research needs in these areas, an emerging theme was the need to adjust future research agendas to address changes in the target population, such as the increasing prevalence of dual sensory loss and multiple disabilities. Also sorely needed is improved communication among the various stakeholders in the visual impairment field (consumers, clinicians, teachers, rehabilitation service providers, researchers, and industry) in order to more effectively harness what knowledge already exists and reduce avoidable barriers such as inaccessible consumer product design.

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