October is Blindness Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to reevaluate some of your accessibility practices. Approximately 12 million Americans over 40 are visually impaired, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 1 million are blind and 2 million have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of low-vision and blindness among adults over 50.
Not all visual impairments are obvious, so it’s important to offer options to your clients and their employees.
What group clients can do for their employees
Accessibility doesn’t necessarily mean big digital and office modifications. Being mindful of blind and low-vision clients and their needs can create a better dental experience for everyone involved. A little bit of awareness goes a long way in creating a safer and more dignified experience.
- While sending paper mail may be standard for some communications, visually impaired or blind employees may have trouble finding the information enclosed. Sending a screen reader–friendly email, text message or audio file may be a better option. Talk to the recipients about their preferences. Large type may be suitable for some people with low vision.
- Assistive technology in the office creates a more inclusive workspace and gives low-vision and blind employees the tools they need to succeed. Scanners, magnifiers, screen readers and Braille displays are all helpful resources.
- Even the simplest webpages can have coding that’s difficult for screen readers. Make webpages easier to use for blind and low-vision employees by using alt-text for images, being thoughtful with colors and choosing descriptive phrases for linking.
- Tempting as it may be, guide dogs have an important job to do. If someone relies on a guide dog, understand that by petting it or offering treats, you may be distracting it from helping its owner. Always ask the owner before approaching their guide dog.
Resources from Delta Dental
Studies have linked periodontal disease to retinal degeneration and certain oral bacteria to glaucoma. For those with good to moderate vision, seeing their dentist regularly can help protect their mouth and their sight. When your clients’ employees need a little extra help with their benefits, Delta Dental is here to help.
- For any questions about their coverage, members can simply call 866–530-9675 and speak to a customer service representative.
- Written materials, such as plan information, can be translated to Braille or audio for blind and low-vision patients. Contact customer service to request material translations.
All patients deserve equal care and dignity when receiving it. For more tips and resources, visit the American Foundation for the Blind.