Visually Impaired & Blind Resources

The following resources were assembled in order to assist students, faculty, and staff. Please note that CCNY and the AAC/SDS do not guarantee or validate the services of outside organizations and programs but provide this information for reference purposes and convenience.



Blindness is the inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see while visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces a person's ability to function at certain or all tasks.  Legal blindness (a severe visual impairment) refers to a best-corrected central vision of 20/200 or worse in the better eye or a visual acuity of better than 20/200 but with a visual field no greater than 20° (e.g., tunnel vison). Though many people with eye conditions and blindness excel at school and work, it can contribute to obstacles in these arenas, as well as in social interactions and engagement. The diagnosis of a visual impairment and blindness is made by a qualified ophthalmologist.  It is estimated that 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Individuals who are visually impaired, legally blind and blind have legal rights that include equal access to academic learning environments.

AAC/SDS Visually Impaired and Blind Resources

The AAC/SDS provides a variety of accommodations and services for students who are visually impaired and blind.  These include exam accommodations, accessible text conversion, Assistive Technology (AT), referrals, and personal counseling and group workshops to help students enhance their study and time management skills.  The AAC/SDS staff is available as a resource to all faculty and staff supporting students with visual impairments and blindness.

Potential Accommodations (determined on an individualized basis) and Services for CCNY Students with Visual Impairments and Blindness:

  • Note-taking services
  • Permission to record lectures and loan of recording devices
  • Alternate format of texts
  • Exam accommodations such as extended time and/or a reduced distraction environment
  • Personal and Academic Counseling
  • AccessText:  Source for accessible versions of text books in accessible formats
  • Bookshare: Source for accessible version of text books in accessible formats
  • Learning Ally: The world’s largest collection of human-narrated audiobooks
  • Assistance with navigating CUNYFirst, Blackboard, and learning management softwares
  • Assistance with reading and completion of forms
  • Placement on a voluntary list for assistance during emergencies on campus
  • Ensuring removal of access barriers on campus 

    Assistive Technology
  • CCTV: Screen magnifier that enlarges paperwork, documentation, or for exams
  • ZoomText: Computer screen magnifier program that enlarges your desktop. Zoom level is adjustable to your preference.
  • JAWS: Screen reader for the blind that reads desktop programs and internet browser.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking: Speech-to-text software that allows you to type assignments using voice control. This program is available in The Tech Center (NAC 1/304) in SR rooms.
  • Enlarged keyboard: Numbers and letters are printed larger on a yellow and black keyboard to help visually impaired students type comfortably.
  • Recording device: Record lectures and study notes.


CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities: A CUNY-wide organization that supports and promotes disability awareness.

CATS (CUNY Assistive Technology Services): Students and faculty can access free assistive technology through CUNY CATS.

Lions Center for the Visually Impaired: Facts about visual impairment and blindness.

American Foundation for the Blind: A resource for programs and services for visually impaired and blind students.


New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB): A state organization that provides services and programs for the blind.

Lighthouse Guild: Nonprofit organization to assist the visually impaired and blind with resources such as job placement, medical center, and other various programs and services.

VISIONS: Services for the blind, visually impaired, and the elderly.

Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities: Offers city resources with all types of disabilities.