October is Blindness Awareness Month. At the Illinois Eye Center (IEC), we think it’s important to pause and reflect on the unique experiences of people with blindness or vision impairment.
It’s also a good time to reflect on all that’s been done in the Peoria community over the years to make central Illinois safer for people with blindness or vision impairment. Peoria has done and continues to make great efforts to support people who are blind or visually impaired in the community through various programs, services, and innovations.
Keep reading to learn more about these efforts and one particularly unique contribution to the blind community.
How does Peoria support people who are blind or who have vision impairment?
Peoria is home to the Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CICBVI), an organization dedicated to providing services and programs to people who are blind or who have vision impairment. The goal is to ensure people with vision issues have equal opportunities here in the Central Illinois Valley.
Some of these programs and services include helping people access:
- Important technologies, such as screen readers and speakers.
- Products, such as white canes or other blind or low vision products.
- Education programs, such as programs teaching Braille and how to use a white cane.
- Transportation, including free transportation in certain areas.
What is Peoria’s unique contribution to blindness?
Peoria is actually home to the very first white cane used to assist people who are blind or who have vision impairment. In fact, it was about 90 years ago that the white, red-tipped cane started to become a universal tool used by people who are blind. After the introduction of the white cane, the Peoria City Council even enacted an ordinance giving people carrying these canes the right-of-way, helping the safety of people who were blind or who had vision impairment. Today, the white cane is a universal symbol of blindness, all thanks to early efforts here in the Peoria community.
CICBVI continues a tradition started over 90 years ago: offering all members of CICBVI red-tipped white canes to help make people who are more blind more visible and safer on the streets.
How does IEC support CICBVI?
IEC is a proud supporter of the CICBVI and its mission to promote awareness for blindness and visual impairment in the Peoria community. In fact, Dr. Stephen Eyler, an ophthalmologist at IEC, sits on CICBVI’s board of directors, offering important insight to help the program with its goals.
Visit the CICBVI website to learn more about their mission, purpose, and goals.