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Grants and Assistive Programs

Southwest Low Vision does not provide financial assistance.

The National Eye Institute (NEI),
part of the National Institutes of Health
FACT SHEET - Financial Aid for Eye Care

The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the Federal Government's principal agency for conducting and supporting research on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of eye diseases and disorders of the visual system. Inclusion in this resource sheet does not imply endorsement by the National Eye Institute or by the National Institutes of Health.

Many state and national resources regularly provide aid to people with vision problems. The National Eye Institute, which supports eye research, does not help individuals pay for eye care. However, if you are in need of financial aid to assess or treat an eye problem, you might contact one or more of the following programs.

You may also contact a social worker at a local hospital or other community agency. Social workers often are knowledgeable about community resources that can help people facing financial and medical problems.


Providing Free Eye Exams to Low-Income Americans across the U.S.

More than 46 million low-income individuals in the United States cannot afford the cost of routine eye care or do not have the health insurance that covers such exams.

VISION USA was established in 1991 to provide basic eye examinations to Americans in need, and is currently available in 39 states and the District of Columbia. AOA member optometrists donate their services at no cost.

If you need an eye exam and cannot afford one and do not have insurance, work with a social worker, case worker, charitable organization or agency to submit an online application on your behalf for VISION USA services.

Telephone: 1-800-766-4466

Mission Cataract USA

coordinated by the Volunteer Eye Surgeons' Association, is a program providing free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no other means to pay. Surgeries are scheduled annually on one day, usually in May.
Telephone: 1-800-343-7265

Knights Templar Eye Foundation

provides assistance for eye surgery for people who are unable to pay or receive adequate assistance from current government agencies or similar sources. Mailing address: 5097 North Elston Avenue, Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60630-2460.
Telephone: (773) 205-3838.

Sight for Students

a Vision Service Plan (VSP) program in partnership with
The Entertainment Industry Foundation, provides eye exams and glasses to children 18 years and younger whose families cannot afford vision care.
Telephone: 1-888-290-4964

New Eyes for the Needy

provides vouchers for the purchase of new prescription eyeglasses. Mailing address:
549 Millburn Avenue, P.O. Box 332, Short Hills, NJ 07078-0332.
Telephone: (973) 376-4903

The Medicine Program

assists people to enroll in one or more of the many patient assistance programs that provide prescription medicine free-of-charge to those in need. Patients must meet the sponsor's criteria. The program is conducted in cooperation with the patient's doctor. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4182, Poplar Bluff, MO 63902-4182.
Telephone: (573) 996-7300. E-mail:

Directory of:
Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs

Directory of Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs,
published by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, identifies company programs that provide prescription medications free of charge to physicians for their needy patients. A copy of the directory is available online.
Telephone: 1-800-PMA-INFO

The Assistive Technology Fund
(for Residents of the United States)

• The Assistive Technology Fund (for Residents of the United States) - The Association of Blind Citizens has established the Assistive Technology Fund. The Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) will provide funds to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software. The ABC board of directors believes that this program will allow blind and visually impaired individuals access to technology products that will have a significant impact on improving employment opportunities, increasing the level of independence and enhancing the recipients overall quality of life.

• Applicant must be legally blind and a resident of the United States to qualify for this program. Applications must be submitted by June 30th, September 30th and December 31st for each grant period (three per year). Applicants will be notified if their request for a grant is approved. Applicants may submit one request per calendar year. All applications must be submitted via e-mail. ABC will notify you within 45 days after the application deadline.

You may fill out the request form below by pasting it in to your word processor and emailing it to

Association of Blind Citizens Assistive Technology requests the following information:
First Line Of Address:
Second Line Of Address:
Telephone Number with area code:
Email address:

Provide a description of 500 or fewer words of the device you wish to purchase and how it will help you achieve employment or increase your independence.

Members of the American Association of
People with Disabilities (AAPD) &
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)

Members of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) & Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)
Members of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) can join the Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) to take advantage of access loans to assist someone with a disability. Borrow from $1,500 to $25,000 or more for up to 72 months with no down payment required. The borrower need not be the beneficiary of the purchase. Qualified purchases include, but are not limited to: assistive technology, durable medical equipment, housing modifications, and rehabilitative equipment.

Foundation for the Advancement of the Blind

This foundation provides funds for persons with visual impairments who want to purchase assistive devices.
4058 Moore Street
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 301-0344

International Association of Lions Clubs

Many Lions Clubs provide vocational assistance to persons who are legally blind. The international office refers requests for equipment or other assistance to the appropriate district offices.
300 22nd Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523-8842
(800) 747-4448

The Association of Blind Citizens

The Association of Blind Citizens provides financial assistance for the purchase of technology products. Applicants must be legally blind and a resident of the United States. Applications must be submitted on line. If selected to receive a technology grant, applicants will be asked to provide documents such as tax returns and bank statements. Persons eligible to apply must have a family income of less than $50,000 and cash assets of less than $20,000.
State Specific Assistance
1. Iowa Compass
Iowa COMPASS provides information to Iowa consumers and family members about potential sources of funding for the purchase of assistive technology.
2. Kentucky Residents
The Kentucky Assistive Technology Loan Corporation (KATLC) offers low interest loans through its lending partners for qualified applicants who need any type of equipment or home modification that will increase a person to become more independent.

3. Louisiana Assistive Technology program

Residents of the state of Louisiana may be eligible for federally/state funding for equipment with special low-interest rates through LATAN's Assertive Technology Loan Program . LATAN's Assistive Technology Loan Program provides an alternative, affordable source of funding to assist people with disabilities purchase assistive technology through a special loan program. The reduced-interest, fixed-rate, extended-term loan program provides a worthwhile option in the funding maze facing consumers who need to purchase assistive technology to improve or maintain their level of independence, to increase or maintain their productivity, or to improve their quality of life.
4. Maryland Residents
Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority For Maryland residents provides product purchase assistance under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998.
5. Michigan Residents
The Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC) has established the Assistive Technology Loan Fund to help people with disabilities purchase assistive technology devices and services. The Loan Fund provides low-cost financing to persons with disabilities to purchase assistive technology devices that allow for greater access, enhanced communication and job opportunities.
6. Utah Assistive Technology Foundation
The Utah Assistive Technology Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that works with Zions Bankof Utah to provide zero and low-interest loans to purchase assistive technology and telework devices. The UATF also offers some small grants ($250 or less) on a limited basis through non-federal funding to families who meet federal poverty guidelines. The goal of the UATF is to enhance the independence, education, employment, and quality of life for Utah citizens with disabilities.
7. Vermont Residents
The Vermont Development Credit Union manages the Adaptive Equipment Revolving Loan Fund (AERLF) made possible through Vermont Assistive Technology Project. Loans are made available to Vermonters with disabilities who need assistive equipment.
8. Virginia Residents
Assistive Technology Loan Fund Authority For Virgina residents provides loans for wheelchairs, motorized scooters, Braille equipment, hearing aids, low vision aids, communication systems, environmental control devices, building modifications for accessibility or telecommunication devices for the deaf.
9. Washington Residents
Lions Foundation of Washington works with each chapter in the state of Washington and will typically pay for half the cost of a video magnifier with the chapter picking up the other half. The end-user needs to be evaluated at one of the Lions Low Vision Clinics in the state in order to start the process.
For more information about this program please contact Gael at the Lions Low Vision Clinic of Bellevue at 425-558-4228.
10. Washington Assistive Technology Foundation
The Washington Assistive Technology Foundation is a non- profit organization dedicated to, and controlled by, people with vision disabilities. Their first project is a low interest loan fund (the "Access Fund") established to provide Washington state residents with disabilities affordable credit for purchases of assistive technology (AT) and home and vehicle accessibility modifications.
11. Assistive Technology Resource Project Resources (by State)
Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
1110 Navaho Drive, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27609-7322
Project Director: Ricki Hiatt
Phone: (919) 850-2787 (V/TTY)
FAX: (919) 850-2792
California Department of Rehabilitation
2000 Evergreen
Sacramento, CA 95815
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 944222
Sacramento, CA 94244-2220
Information and Referral: Colin Corby
Project Director: Kathi Mowers Moore
Phone: (916) 263-8687
TTY: (916) 263-8685
FAX: (916) 263-8683
Department of Social Services, BRS
25 Sigourney St., 11th Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
Project Director: John M. Ficarro
Phone: (860) 424-4881
Phone: (800) 537-2549 (In-State)
TTY: (860) 424-4839
FAX: (860) 424-4850
Institute on Disabilities
Ritter Annex 423
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Project Director: Amy Goldman
Phone: (800) 204-PIAT (7428) (In-State only)
TTY: (800) 750-PIAT (In-State only)
V/TTY: (215) 204-1356
FAX: (215) 204-9371
If your STATE Agency or Private Organization
offers special funding for individuals
needing low vision aids, and you didn't find
yourselves listed please call us at 1-800-534-4321
or email us at
so we can add you to the list.
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add a 'live-link' to your web-site, and please consider
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Magnifiers and Telescopes / Reading Machines /
Lamps / Workshops and Shows /

Informative Articles, Links to Resources,
Links to helpful Organizations

Grants and Assistive Programs - Financial Aid /

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