Eyesight Disability: Accommodations at Work

When an individual is dealing with a vision related disability, it often requires a period of adjustment for both them and their workplace. Most people who are dealing with slow vision loss insist on working until their disease progresses to a certain stage where they are deemed to have gone completely blind, or absolutely cannot carry out their day to day work tasks. Until this point in their prognosis, there are certain accommodations one can be equipped with, within the workplace, that can help them complete their employment tasks efficiently and without a strain on their health.

You should not be discriminated against when dealing with an eyesight disability, and embracing the capabilities you still have is important to your mental health. Having a workplace that provides and supports the proper accommodations for your disability is pivotal to keeping a proper form of income support. Furthermore, it is beneficial for one to be aware of the type of social and government health benefits they can access when dealing with an eyesight disability. These types of aids can help provide a better economical and social foundation for this sensory transition in life.

Safety Accommodation in the Workplace

There are several ways a workplace can accommodate a person with a vision disability. The most important forms of accommodation are for safety. This would include things such as:
* Proper railings on all stairways
* Large print emergency exit signs
* Large yellow warning signs for things such as wet floors
* Textured surfaces indicating dangerous ledges
* Audio warnings and alarms

It is important to note the following:

  • Excessive exposure to sunlight can increase one’s risk of cataracts. For this reason, if any employee is consistently exposed to high levels of sunlight while on the job, it is important they are equipped with proper sunglasses that block out as much ultraviolet B (UVB) rays as possible. This will decrease cases of long-term disability claims in the future and provide proper health and safety reassurance.

  • Given that Glaucoma can result from serious eye injuries, it is important that if one is meant to use power tools on the job, they are equipped with proper eye protection to avoid any possibility of injury.

Ergonomic & Non-Discriminatory Workplace Accommodations

There should be zero tolerance for workplace discrimination and/or harassment when seeking proper accommodation for your vision disability, let alone eyesight health and safety. Having equal access to health and safety within the workplace is your right, and the same goes for workplace conditions that accommodate your disability’s needs.

One of the great aspects of technological advancements is that blind or visually impaired workers can communicate well through the use of computers that offer things such as audio read-back programs and visual aids for the visual impaired. Furthermore, having a company’s website be the primary access point for an organizations internal information allows an individual to adjust the screen settings and access the information in a way that is easier for their disability. Electronic copies and resources for primary employee documents also creates better access and use of materials for both the employee and employer for things such as:

  • Employee handbook
  • Meeting minutes
  • Office procedure manuals
  • Staff directory
  • Job postings
  • Forms
  • Email
  • Document and reports

If you are working at a designated workspace such as in an office cubicle, certain accommodations may be needed depending on the vision disability you are diagnosed with. Here are some examples of the different ways your workplace can help assist you with managing your daily tasks, depending on your diagnosis:


  • Brighter lighting
  • Increased font size for documents
  • Workplace station away from ultraviolet sunlight / proper screens on windows to block ultraviolet sunlight


  • Ability to take leave from work for optometrist appointments
  • Accommodation for service-animal if required
  • Increased font size for documents
  • Less screen time (on a computer, phone, or any other type of screen needed for work duties). This could mean that you are equipped with an audio to text software for your computer that allows you to dictate rather than look at a screen and type

Macular Degneration

  • Increased font sizes for documents
  • Brighter over-head lighting
  • Bright reading lights for reviewing and/or creating documents

Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Ability to eat at workstation or take breaks to control adequate blood sugar levels
  • Increased font sizes for documents
  • Brighter lights

Disability Tax Credit for the Blind

Once a condition causes complete blindness, there are government supports that are put in place to accommodate such sensory changes and alleviate some financial woes. A Canadian is eligible for a disability tax credit when suffering from complete blindness (total loss of vision with the inability to distinguish darkness from light). As mentioned in our previous article “Eyesight Disability: 101”, complications from such things as diabetes, macular degeneration and traumatic injuries can cause sudden blindness. Furthermore, the progression of disease such as glaucoma and cataracts can lead to gradual and inevitable blindness as well.

When someone is dealing with un-treatable blindness, there is a shift in their lives that require commitment and patience. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind offers several different programs and supports for assisting the blind in this transition, as well as gaining independence in their day to day life. Through the Canadian Disability Tax Credit for the blind, an individuals can get help with the costs of things such as medical devices, specialist care and assistance needed to help an individual cope with their disability.

Contacting a Toronto Disability Lawyer

Managing a vision related disability can be stressful, but having to deal with a reprisal from your employer, or a denied insurance claim can most definitely put someone over the edge. When managing a vision related disability, especially one that results in sudden blindness is a scary reality to except. In no circumstance should an individual have to deal with unnecessary social and economic grief on top of their situation.

By speaking with a long-term disability lawyer, someone who specializes in disability claims and is well versed in the legal rights of a disabled individual, you will gain the support needed to navigate through difficult and unjust situations you may find yourself in, after announcing a vision related disability. If you have been faced with a denied disability claim from your insurance company, either for short-term disability, long-term disability, or certain health benefits, you should consult with a disability attorney immediately. The urgency of seeking legal aid is also the same for any reprisal or unjust behavior (whether be harassment or discrimination) you may be facing in your workplace as a result of your disability. A disability lawyer will assume all communication and legally pursuit any liable party that has caused you unnecessary grief during this time.

TSF Law is one of Ontario’s top disability claim firms. We offer free fifteen minute consultations in person or over the phone; call us today, TSF Law is always there for you.

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