Common Job Accommodation Questions and Their Answers for Employees with Visual Impairments and Their Employers

An overhead view of a group of adults sitting around a table using different technology devices with the word Access in the middle of the table

Whether you are a job seeker or new employee who is blind or visually impaired or an employer who is considering hiring a person with a visual impairment, I know job accommodations are a significant concern. You want to ensure equipment, workspaces, and processes are accessible; you want an efficient workflow, and you want to minimize the cost of assistive technology and adaptations.

To ease your mind and put you on the right track for accommodating accessibility issues, review this list of common job accommodations questions and their answers:

Job Accommodation Q&A

  1. Who should bring up limitations or performance problems related to a disability? The employee should bring up any limitations or performance problems related to your visual impairment. Generally speaking, the employer should not assume any problem is disability-related.

  2. How can I determine necessary accommodations? Here you will find steps for determining accommodations; additionally review, Job Accommodation Network’s “Questions to Consider When Accommodating Employees with Visual Impairments”.

  3. What types of job accommodations are available? Learn about the wide variety of accommodations available including both low-tech and high-tech solutions.

  4. Can you give me a few examples of accommodations for people with visual impairments? Review APH CareerConnect’s virtual worksites; illustrations are provided to give examples of how employees with vision loss can perform their duties in a variety of work environments.

  5. Do all employees with visual impairments require the same job accommodations? No, accommodations vary depending on the eye condition, amount of useful vision, use of braille or print, job duties, presence of additional disabilities, etc.

  6. What are the costs of job accommodations [because I’m in cold sweats]? You will be pleasantly surprised when you read information about the cost.

  7. When the employee requests an accommodation, does he/she need an accompanying eye report? An eye report is not necessary. However, the employer may ask the employee to bring an eye report or other verification if a visual impairment isn’t apparent.

  8. Can reasonable accommodations be requested for a volunteer position? While one can always ask for reasonable accommodations, the volunteer is only protected under the law if technically an employee.

  9. Does an employer have to provide the exact accommodations requested? No, the employer and employee can discuss appropriate options, and the employer can decide which she will provide.

  10. Should the employer fully cover the cost of all necessary accommodations/assistive technologies? First, note that the employer isn’t responsible for supplying personal accommodations or technologies, such as a talking watch, white cane, or accessible calendar. Second, when possible, the employee should use technology or devices already owned. Third, the employee should discuss assistive technology needs with a local vocational rehabilitation counselor, who may be able to provide equipment. Otherwise, the employer should provide accommodations to processes or equipment, assuming it is not placing an undue hardship on the employer.

  11. What are the legal considerations for job accommodations? You’ll want to read this overview

Don’t hesitate to ask additional questions in the comments section. It is my pleasure to provide feedback and additional resources.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions from Job Seekers and Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act

Tips for Making Print More Readable

Glossary of Eye Conditions

Statistics on Blindness