"Providing blind people with the dignity of independence through employment"

Facts About Blindness

What is Blindness?

Individuals who are considered blind may have a complete loss of sight, to varying degrees of residual vision. A person is blind if he can, with corrective lenses, see at a distance of 20 feet what a person with normal vision can see at 200 feet. Visual field loss of 80 degrees or more in both eyes is also legal blindness.

Most blind people have some residual vision, varying in degree from the ability to perceive light to reading normal size print with the help of corrective lenses or low vision aids. Only a small percentage of blind persons are totally blind with no light perception at all1.

Blindness in Tennessee

In the state of Tennessee, approximately 4.3 million individuals over the age of 18 have vision impairment or age-related eye disease. Individuals age 40 or older have the greatest prevalence of visual impairment in the state, and the most significant causes of blindness include glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, trauma, and various genetically inherited eye diseases2.

Blind Employment

In the United States, 25 million Americans report experiencing significant vision loss. Of that population, only 32% of individuals who are considered legally blind hold full-time employment. In addition, only 45% of persons not considered to be legally blind but have other serious visual impairments are employed full-time. Unfortunately, poverty is a fact of life for many blind adults, especially older women. Nearly 1 in 5 blind individuals lives in poverty, with women being more affected than men. Overall, few blind adults receive welfare benefits, though most do obtain Social Security Disability benefits4.

The core of Lions Volunteer Blind Industries mission is to change these statistics in East Tennessee. We strive to benefit our employees by helping them achieve independence and dignity through employment, as well as helping our local economy by creating jobs.


1. Oklahoma League for the Blind Volunteer Manual

2. Prevent Blindness Tennessee:


3. American Foundation for the Blind:


4. Blind Adults in America: Their Lives and Challenges. A Report by the National Center for Policy Research for Women and Families. February 2004