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Who is eligible for services at Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired?

Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired programs are designed for any person who has a vision problem that affects their quality of life.

Is your program only for people who cannot take care of themselves at all?

No, most of our clients are people who have lost some vision and are having difficulty performing activities they have always done. These may include difficulties in reading, driving a car, enjoying hobbies. Many people with vision loss will find that some of the simple techniques that we teach them will make a big difference in their ability to continue to enjoy their lives. We teach practical skills, as well as assisting you in signing up for all of the services available to visually impaired people, such as free directory assistance, handicapped transportation services and NEWSLINE (reading the newspaper on the telephone) as well as others. The social aspect of our program is also very helpful for people adjusting to vision loss. In addition, we have ongoing activities, such as weekly support group meetings, peer support groups, book clubs and other recreational activities.

How do I become enrolled in Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired's program?

Simply call us and we will assist you with necessary information to qualify you for services. Once we receive an eye report, we will arrange for transportation for you to come to our agency for orientation to determine which services are appropriate for you.

Is Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired a state agency?

No, the center is a nonprofit agency that receives funding from a variety of sources, such as the Florida Department of Education, Division of Blind Services, United Way of Volusia/ Flagler, United Way of Brevard, Volusia and Flagler County Government, local businesses and corporations, foundations, charitable trusts and individual donations.

What is the difference between legal blindness and low vision? 

The term 'blindness' is often applied to a person who has no vision at all. The terms "low vision", "visually impaired" or partially sighted", are used to describe a person who has some remaining vision. When a doctor says that you are legally blind, it does not mean that you have no vision at all or will be totally blind in the future. It is simply a legal term to denote vision loss within a certain range. It is not true that all termed blind have absolutely no sight; in fact, most blind persons have some remaining vision. A person is referred to as 'blind' if they meet the legal definition of vision loss. A person is considered "legally blind" when his/her visual acuity is 20/ 200 or less in the better eye with best correction, or his/her field of vision is 20 degrees or less in the better eye.

What is Visual Impairment?

According to the World Health Organization, Visual Impairment may be mild or severe, but in each case visual performance does not meet the individual's needs. A person is considered to be "visually impaired" when he/she has a visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye with best correction, or a visual field of 140 degrees or less in the better eye.

What is Legal Blindness?

The federal government developed the term legal blindness in the 1930's to classify persons who would be eligible for certain benefits. The term legal blindness consists of two parts: 1. when the best vision obtained in the better eye, is 20/200 or less, or 2. when, despite the activity attained, the field of vision of the better eye is 20 degrees or less. A person can be considered legally blind if they meet either criterion. A person can have perfect 20/20 vision and still be considered legally blind if they have a field loss of 20 degrees or less. (Section 34 (Y) (2) of the Revenue Act of 1944)

What is Low Vision?

A person with correction whose visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 is considered to have low vision. Ordinary eye glasses, contact lenses or intraocular lens implants may not be able to fully correct the vision for people considered to have low vision. Reduced central reading vision is often common for people with low vision. However, low vision may also result from decreased side (peripheral) vision loss, a reduction of loss of color vision, or the eye's inability to properly adjust to light, contrast or glare.

I don't know what to do when I meet a blind person. How should I act?

Blindness does not affect a person’s hearing, so when talking with a blind/visually impaired person, use a normal speaking voice. Do not be alarmed if the person does not make eye contact. If you wish to talk with the person, address them specifically, as they may be unable to distinguish facial expressions or body signals. When talking to a blind person, it is acceptable to use everyday words such as "see or look". This will not offend a blind person. Just relax and be yourself. This will put the blind person at ease as well. To give a disabled person a feeling of dignity, do not assume that a person needs help, always ask before offering assistance.

Is it true that losing vision will cause your other senses to become more acute?

No, this is false. Being blind or visually impaired does not improve the other senses, nor does it dull the other senses. However, anyone can improve his or her ability to identify and respond to stimuli through their other senses with a certain amount of practice.

Should all blind people use a guide dog?

No, some people who are blind or visually impaired use dog guides; however, they are not appropriate for everyone. The dogs do not lead an individual at will, they rely on commands and signals. Dogs can be time consuming and not all blind people want the responsibility of owning an animal. Using a dog guide differs than using a cane in that the dog guide user does not contact the environment as a cane user does. The dog leads the person around obstacles and thus the person may not recognize what those obstacles are. A cane user on the other hand, contacts the obstacles and will be able to identify what they are when passing them.

Is there a fee for Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired's services?

No, all of CVI's programs such as computer training, daily living classes and others are free. Thanks to the generosity of our supports we are able to provide training and support services at no charge to those in need.

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