Navigating life during a pandemic blind or visually impaired

Local News

(WETM)- Life during a pandemic has been hard for everyone in numerous ways, but imagine navigating the world blind or visually impaired where touch, the sense you depend on, is no longer free to use. 

Brian Patchett, President, and CEO of North Central Sight Services in Tioga county says, when you are blind or visually impaired there are two things that are really challenging. One is transportation and the other is access to information. 

But his local company has managed to continue helping those in need even through this pandemic. 

“Accessing the internet or accessing computers, your phone whatever, that’s always a challenge, and so we’ve figured out how to do that safely without staff and to make sure we follow all the guidelines from the CDC and from the state and all that…and so that was very successful and we were able to continue to provide that and continue to do so throughout the pandemic,”  says Patchett

Another issue those who are visually impaired have faced has been because or masks, Patchett says, “sometimes wearing a mask is difficult because when you’re breathing its going up through the top of your mask and that can make it difficult for some people to see as well… so just trying to find ways to help people to know how they can set up their masks and not be affected by that as well is important.” 

Patchett says they had to get creative to continue helping people by leaving boxes of assistive technology on the door step for clients to pick up, and using zoom to communicate and set up doctors appoints. 

Assistive technology, which helps people with a visual disability by doing things like magnifying what’s on the screen, or having your phone talk to you.  

That has benefitted many, especially during this pandemic. 

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