Accommodating Employees with Visual Impairments

Tips for Employment: shows two women behind a desk using assistive technology, one in a wheelchair

Thanks to Oklahoma ABLE Tech for this AT Tip for Employment!

The following is a case study for accommodating an employee with a visual impairment. It includes recommendations from an assistive technology (AT) professional, goals, sample solutions and outcomes.

Scenario: an accountant with a progressive visual impairment

The employee, “Susan,” has worked for many years in the accounting department of a large university and is now experiencing a progressive reduction in vision due to diabetic retinopathy. Her position requires she read and enter sensitive personal and financial data in an accounting database as well as operate commonly-used office software programs. Reading from printed pages as well as electronic files is required.

Recommendations:

Susan will need one tool to magnify printed pages and another tool for magnifying the computer screen. Tools to consider for magnifying printed materials come in a variety of sizes including handheld, portable, and desktop electronic video magnifiers. For reading on a computer, Susan may find the magnification feature that is built-into the operating system to be sufficient, or she may need the more robust features of specialized screen magnification software.

Solutions and Outcomes:

For reading printed material, Susan chose to trial a handheld 5” magnifier, a portable 15” magnifier, and a desktop magnifier with a 17” screen. She found the desktop size to be the most efficient for work. For reading on the computer, Susan determined that specialized software was better for her than using the built-in screen magnification.

The university trialed equipment for Susan’s use from Oklahoma ABLE Tech, their State AT Program, and chose to purchase the Merlin HD 17” Desktop Magnifier and ZoomText Screen Magnification Software. The employee also liked the Candy 5″ HD Handheld video Magnifier and is considering purchasing one for herself for personal use outside of the office. There are many hardware and software magnification products on the market available from a range of AT companies. Trialing from ABLE Tech’s short-term device loan program meant Susan was not limited by a manufacturer or vendor.

A CCTV magnifying a beach image off a magazine.
CCTV Merlin HD 17″

Using the tools chosen, Susan will be able to read documents received in hard-copy or electronically, and continue to perform all of the functions of her job.

Browse a range of AT for magnification at this AbleData webpage

Find your State or Territory AT Program to learn about vision-related products available to trial or borrow for a temporary need.