information & referrals

We assist individuals who are visually impaired and their families, friends, professionals and the general public in accessing services and /or resources to meet their needs and improve quality of life. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance assistance that offers Braille embossing and cassette recordings of minutes, employment materials, and other information for the blind and visually impaired. 

If we do not have the answer to your question, we will find the answer or direct you to the person or agency who can answer your question. We have a wide variety of adaptive devices which permit a blind or visually impaired person to participate and succeed in life, at home or in the work place. Many of these same devices may be seen and/or operated at our office. Give us a call at 304-232-4810 and we will make an appointment for you and/or your family.




Education is an important part of understanding and growing. Today, more than ever before, it is important that we are aware of the abilities of the blind and the available services for the individual who is blind or visually impaired. Community education is an important part of improving quality of life of the visually impaired and in linking the Association with the community. Blind and visually impaired individuals are dedicated, responsible and dependable individuals who make a positive contribution to the community. 

Additionally, educating the community of the benefits of the services provided, the resources needed and the opportunities to Share as donors is important to the continuation of services. In providing community education, awareness and understanding concerning visual impairments and the preservation of sight, we help to improve the quality of life of the blind and visually impaired. 




The number of people with some degree of vision loss is growing rapidly, especially among senior populations. Conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or optic nerve disease are common among US residents, 65 years and older. AMD accounts for almost 45 percent of all cases of low vision in the US.... 8 percent of all Americans have diabetes, a top cause of vision loss. The number of Americans with diabetes has grown to about 24 million people - an increase of about 3 million over two years ago- according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June 2008. The CDC estimates another 57 million people have pre-diabetes, which puts them at increased risk for the disease. 

Cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa are some of the eye diseases responsible for low vision. 

1. Presentations of a general format are available for church groups, civic organizations and others as requested. The content describes the Seeing Hand organization and services and highlights current activities. 

2. Education programs for school children, scouts, clubs etc. are available to assist in understanding the abilities of people who are blind or visually impaired. Visits to the Elikan Center allow children to see individuals at work and a variety of jobs; using the latest access technology; and perhaps reading Braille. Blind individuals talk about what it is like to live without sight and answer questions from the children. 

3. Awareness training is available for business, senior care facilities and other organizations. The presentation covers a variety of related topics such as: assistive technology, job site accommodations and etiquette of working with individuals who are visually impaired or blind. 

4. Community Share programs are available to assist senior citizens and their families. The program focuses on educating seniors about services available to help in maintaining independence, socialization and recreation. 

The presentation provides information on a variety of assistive technologies and services available to maintain or improve quality of life. 


Visual Impairments


Blindness is 60% preventable through care and education of the community. Conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosis, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration are responsible for 51% of blindness. 49% is due to neglect, lack of knowledge and professional care. Early diagnosis, modern technology and protective eye-ware can significantly reduce the rate of blindness. 

Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in America. It results from changes to the macula, a portion of the retina that is responsible for clear, sharp vision and is located at the back of the eye. 

Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar and can cause many health problems. One problem, called diabetic retinopathy, can weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish your eye's retina, the delicate, light sensitive lining of the back of the eye. These blood vessels may begin to leak, swell or develop brush-like branches. 

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP): is a group of inherited diseases that damage the light-sensitive rods and cones located in the retina, the back part of our eyes.  Rods, which provide side (peripheral) and night vision, are affected more than the cones which provide color and clear central vision. 

Glaucoma: is an eye disease in which the internal pressure in your eyes increases enough to damage the nerve fibers in your optic nerve and cause vision loss. The increase in pressure happens when the passages that normally allow fluid in your eyes to drain become clogged or blocked. The reasons that the passages become blocked are not known. 

Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of all or part of the normally clear lens within your eye, which results in blurred or distorted vision. Cataracts are most often found in persons over age 55, but they are also occasionally found in younger people. 

Source: American Optometric Association AOA