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Challenges and Considerations for Travelers Who Have Visual Impairments: What Can You Do to Support Their Independence?


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L. Penny Rosenblum, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, University of Arizona

Published in: Education
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Challenges and Considerations for Travelers Who Have Visual Impairments: What Can You Do to Support Their Independence?

  1. 1. Challenges and Considerations for Travelers Who Have Visual Impairments: What Can You Do to Support Their Independence? Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum University of Arizona 1
  2. 2. A Quick Simulation 2
  3. 3. 3
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  7. 7. Those Numbers… 20/70 20/200 20/400 20 degree field 5 degree field 7
  8. 8. Visual Acuity 8
  9. 9. Central Field Losses 9
  10. 10. 20 Degree Field Loss 10
  11. 11. Contrast Sensitivity 11
  12. 12. The Challenges of Low Vision 12 • Low contrast sensitivity: difficulty seeing differences between two surfaces - locating curbs, seeing walk lines, recognizing the bottom of a set of stairs and the start of the sidewalk • Poor color vision: difficulty identifying objects with color cues - identifying traffic light colors, recognizing blue from purple on the walls of a subway station • Low acuity: difficulty seeing detail - reading a map, reading street signs, identifying small objects in a path, locating and reading addresses
  13. 13. The Challenges of Low Vision 13 • Light sensitivity: extreme sensitivity to normal light levels - difficulty with sunlight directed toward the traveler, glare from reflections off a surface • Central field restriction: missing details directly ahead at a distance, - needing to turn one’s head or eyes, missing an object directly in front of the traveler • Mid- and far peripheral field restrictions: missing objects to the sides, especially those that are in near space; missing curbs; difficulties in low light environments • Poor night vision: having problems with dim light conditions such as dawn, night, or dusk – challenges entering a darkened place from a sunlit area
  14. 14. Orientation and Mobility 14 • Orientation: Process of using the senses to establish one’s position and relationship to all other significant objects in one’s environment. • Mobility: The ability to move from one’s present position to one’s desired position in another part of the environment safely, gracefully, and comfortably. • The orientation and mobility specialist teaches people to travel safely, efficiently, and gracefully.
  15. 15. What About Those Dogs? • Only about 7,000 people use dogs to get around vs. about 100,000 who use canes. • Each dog costs around $45,000. • Dogs are not for everyone: o Very rare for those under 18 to receive dogs. o The user must have strong O&M skills. o The user must care for the dog. o Other mobility issues/additional disabilities can impact eligibility for a dog. o Will the dog be used or will it just be a very expensive pet? 15
  16. 16. Bicycling with Low Vision 16 • Understand and follow the rules of the road. • Learn to use hand signals to effectively communicate with drivers. • Take a cycling class through parks and recreation or other groups to learn bicycle safety and maintenance. • Always wear a bicycle helmet. • Use a mirror that allows you to monitor traffic behind you. • Pre-plan trips using a website or app.
  17. 17. Bicycling with Low Vision 17 • Develop monitoring skills to watch for vehicles coming out of driveways, vehicles running red lights, or changing traffic signals. • Practice a new route at off hours. • Plan routes that maximize safety. • Slow down when a light is green and you are approaching an intersection so you arrive at the intersection when the light is turning yellow or red. • Wave drivers on since you can’t make eye contact. • Avoid bicycling at dawn or dusk when you are less visible.
  18. 18. Driving with a Bioptic Telescopic System 18 • The traveler’s BTS is positioned above or below the line of sight. • The traveler primarily uses the carrier lens when driving. • The BTS is used for spotting. Simulated 12-degree field of view with 3x Keplerian Bioptic Simulated 5-degree field view with 3x Galilean bioptic Highway sign to normal viewer
  19. 19. Low Vision Driving: The Experience of an 18 Year Old 19
  20. 20. Discussion 20 • What questions do you have about people with visual impairment as they relate to travel? • What changes in infrastructure can be made to support the travel of people with visual impairments? • Are there changes in signage that can be made to help people with visual impairment use their vision more efficiently during travel? • What changes in road markings, bike lanes, multi-use paths etc. can be made to make these more accessible to those with visual impairments? • How can sound be used to augment travel for those with visual impairments?
  21. 21. Society’s Misperceptions • To 21
  22. 22. Thanks for Riding Along with Me! 22