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Glaucoma in the Workplace

Dottie Hunter works with small children every day in a North Carolina preschool. Edith Marks of New York City has written a book on living with glaucoma and facilitates a local support group. Both lead busy, productive lives, and both have glaucoma.

Having glaucoma certainly does not mean the end of your productive work life. Advances in treatment, technology, and general understanding of the disease have enabled people to maintain their normal, daily lives despite their glaucoma.

Good communication with one’s employer or supervisor is a must. Clearly explaining your situation and any adaptive needs are critical steps to ensure that the proper accommodations are made for you. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was created to protect your rights in the workplace. There are exceptions to the ADA, however. If you need guidance determining whether or not it applies to your situation, and what your legal rights are, help is available. For assistance in dealing with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the following resources can help you.

Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center
(800) 949-4232

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(800) 669-4000

The physical nature of your work environment is another important consideration. For indoor or outdoor work, securing proper lighting, good color contrast, and clear paths of travel are all issues to consider. Office lighting can create problems with glare. Altering the color of the carpet, desk, or walls can make a difference. Glare-reducing screens are available to help cut back on the brightness of your computer monitor.

Technological advances have had an impact on all aspects of the lives of people with glaucoma, and the workplace is certainly no exception. Special computers can greatly enlarge a document and even read it out loud. Closed circuit television systems can be used for magnification.

Now, more than ever, people with glaucoma are making important contributions in the workplace, and there are resources to help you. Below are some of the many resources available.

Workplace Resources

Resources are available for job placement, counseling, or training, not only for the person with glaucoma but also for their co-workers.

The State Department of Rehabilitation
Every state in the U.S. has a vocational rehabilitation agency that provides a variety of free services. Check the government pages of your phone book for the exact listing.

American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001
(800) 232-5463

Job Accommodations Network
918 Chestnut Ridge Road, Suite 1
PO Box 6080
Morgantown, WV 26506
(800) 526 - 7234

Lighthouse International
111 East 59th Street
New York, N.Y. 10022-1202
(800) 829 - 0500

Last reviewed on May 18, 2011

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