Vision and Career: Dealing with Poor Eyesight as a Professional


There are a variety of different jobs one can choose to apply for, each with a specific focus. Some are more physical, while others require more mental strength. However, most jobs have one thing in common, and that is the need for good eyesight to complete tasks. Sadly, not everyone has 20/20 vision, with about 75% of Americans requiring some form of vision correction. Despite this, many continue working and thrive in their career. But success doesn’t come without hardships.

How Poor Eyesight Affects Work

There are many struggles a person dealing with poor eyesight can face in the workplace. In fact, your vision health can affect the things that you do every day. Some have the tendency to miss important information that was printed out on a report or flashed during a presentation, which can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings. Others become more prone to accidents when they need to get into difficult positions, deal with certain equipment, or navigate the workplace. A single misstep because of bad eyesight can even end in serious damage or injury. Ongoing treatment and medical issues can also lead to more absences from work. If adjustments are not made, your performance and productivity could be negatively affected.

Applying to Jobs with Low Vision

With challenges come solutions for you to professionally deal with your poor eyesight. If you are still unemployed and sending out job applications, this will be easy as most jobs require you to send in a complete health report even before they decide to interview you for the job. But this can also pose another difficulty, as some employers prefer that their workers have no ailments whatsoever to ensure maximum productivity. But not to worry, for most businesses nowadays include plans for vision in their benefits packages. Research has actually shown that employees whose eye care are covered by their work benefits will miss fewer work days, and are therefore more productive, and will require less expensive medical procedures. These benefits could be the answer to any additional questions your employer may have about your troubles.

employees at work

Adapting at the Workplace

But what if you already have a job? Remember: vision loss is not job loss. There is less worry of getting fired compared to before, as legislations like the Americans with Disabilities Act reduces discrimination and addresses equal rights for those with low vision. You actually have better access to workplace adaptations and eye treatments such as screen-reading software and retina laser surgery. What you need to do now is to maintain a positive attitude as you find ways to adapt to your workplace.

The first thing you need to do is meet with a low vision specialist to clearly identify your visual difficulties. They can help you maximize the vision that you do have so you can continue working. Armed with this information, talk to your employer so they can understand your visual needs better. You can then make the necessary changes, like adjusting the lighting levels, re-labeling your materials with larger text, or re-assigning tasks that you really won’t be able to perform.

Another thing you can do is take advantage of new technology to be more independent while you work. There are many tools that can help make accomplishing tasks with vision impairment easier, like magnifying lenses, special computer displays, and enlargement systems. Using these, a person with poor sight can access and read information much easier. Companies such as Apple have even developed systems to help the completely blind, with iPhones now including such tools like the Braille keyboard that aids in better communication.

However, if you have difficulty adapting or you really just want to improve your eyesight, you can make the decision to get your eyes treated. Poor eyesight does come in degrees, each requiring specific treatments. For example, people with less severe eye problems might only need a simple pair of glasses or contacts. If one is partially blind or has excessive tears in the retina, procedures like laser eye treatment are recommended. In addition, it is also best to consult with your doctor before you go through with any treatment to ensure that you are indeed picking the best possible solution. It is also good to talk to your employers, for there may actually be some added work benefits that will aid in the overall process of you improving your eyesight.

Dealing with poor eyesight as a professional might be difficult at times. But there are many ways to adapt to your situation, that will not only help you work smarter rather than harder, but will also possibly help improve your overall eyesight.

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