Frequently Asked Questions
Low Vision Services
My eye doctor told me that I should call Vision Forward Association’s Low Vision Services. How can you help?
At Vision Forward, we consider ourselves an extension of your eye care professionals’ practice. Your eye doctor and specialist are doing everything they can to help you manage your eye disease. Our focus is on helping you solve functional problems like reading a newspaper, writing a check, watching television, and other daily tasks.
Services, Fees and Access to Free or Low-Cost Care
Are there fees for your services?
There are some fees involved with many of our services. It depends on the service and available funding. There are many factors that determine eligibility for various funding sources and our sliding fee scale. However, we do not let financial resources interfere with providing or finding individuals appropriate services. For questions about the fees associated with our services, please contact our Program Director at 414-615-0121 for more information.
Does Vision Forward do home visits?
Yes, Vision Forward currently offers the following services in individual’s homes: vision consultations, vision services, occupational, physical and speech-language therapies, orientation and mobility services and low vision services.
Does Vision Forward have personal care assistants?
No, Vision Forward does not provide personal care assistants, but IndependenceFirst, a local nonprofit, does provide these services. IndependenceFirst provides personal assistance support services to persons with disabilities so they can continue living in their homes rather than an institution. For more information on these services visit IndependenceFirst or call 414-226-8341.
Does Vision Forward provide grocery shopping services?
No, we do not currently offer personal shopping services.
If you are 60 years of age or more, then Interfaith Neighborhood Outreach Volunteers may be able to help with grocery shopping. To learn more about this service, contact Interfaith Neighborhood Outreach at 414-291-7500.
Are adaptive products sold in the Vision Forward Store covered by Medicare or other insurance?
No. At this point the costs of adaptive aids for vision impairment are not covered by Medicare or other insurance.
I need to have my eyes examined, but I cannot afford a vision exam or new glasses. Who can help?
Depending on your age and income you may qualify for one of several programs. There is not one program or agency that serves all individuals in need. Your age, income and medical history will help determine if you qualify for a program.
- If you are less than 18 years of age, visit Vision USA or call 877-435-2020.
- If you are 65 years of age or older and suffer from glaucoma or diabetes or have a family history of either of these diseases, visit Eye Care America or call 800-222-3937.
- If you do not meet either of these criteria, it may be possible for you to receive an eye exam and glasses from your local LensCrafters. You will need to contact the store to see if it participates in OneSight. Then you will need to have a Lions Club organization write a letter of support documenting that you need eye care services and mail it to the store. This program is supported by your local Lions Club, contact them for more information.
Does Vision Forward help fund eye surgery?
No, Vision Forward does not help fund eye surgery, but there is another organization that may be able to help. The Knights Templar Eye Foundation operates the “Gift of Sight” program. The program works to help people who are unable to get help elsewhere to pay for the treatment of eye disease, including eye surgery. For more information about this program contact: Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., 1000 E. State Pkwy., Suite I, Schaumburg, IL 60173, Phone 847-490-3838, Fax 847-490-3777.
I have a family member who is blind and needs to move to an apartment or assisted living facility. What options are available to us?
Hawley Ridge Apartments is a 58-unit independent living apartment complex specifically designed to meet the needs of people with changing vision. It is located on Vision Forward Association’s campus on North Hawley Road in Milwaukee. If you are interested in learning more about Hawley Ridge Apartments, contact the Property Manager at 414-615-0109.
Additional Housing Options:
- Visually impaired individuals who are less than 59 years of age and would like to learn more about available housing options, care services and funding sources, should contact Milwaukee County Disability Services at 414-289-6660.
- Individuals who are 60 years of age or older and would like to learn more about available housing and care options may wish to contact Milwaukee County Aging Resource Center. The Aging Resource Center staff will set up an appointment either in their office or at your home to discuss available housing options, care services and funding sources. To access this resource, call the Milwaukee Aging Resource Center at 414-289-6874.
- If you would like to learn more about available options on the Internet there are two resources that may help you. First, the Aging Resource Center of Milwaukee County has information about different housing opportunities in the greater Milwaukee area. In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services maintains a Consumer Information on Assisted Living Website.
Does Vision Forward Association provide transport to medical appointments for blind individuals?
No, Vision Forward does not offer transportation to medical appointments. However, if you are in need of transportation to and from medical appointments there are a number of options.
- The Milwaukee County buses serve large medical facilities. To find out whether there is bus service to the medical facility call the BusLine at 414-344-6711 or visit the Milwaukee County Transit System Website.
- For able bodied individuals 60 years of age or older, the Department of Aging Resource Center will provide transportation to and from medical appointments. Call 414-289-6874 for more information.
- For individuals who are unable to access public transportation due to physical or cognitive disabilities, Transit Plus may be the best option for you. Call 414-343-1700 for more information.
- If you have Medicaid or other insurance and are in need of medical transport there are a number of private medical transportation companies in the Milwaukee area. To access a comprehensive listing of transport companies that accept your insurance, please contact your insurance provider or case manager.
- If you are 60 years of age or older, Interfaith Neighborhood Outreach Volunteers may be able to provide transport to and from your medical appointment. To learn more about this service, contact Interfaith Neighborhood Outreach at 414-291-7500.
- Some hospitals may also provide a courtesy van service. If you are going to the hospital, call them to learn if this is a service they offer.
Employment and Training
What employment and job training opportunities are there for blind or visually impaired people in Milwaukee?
People who are blind or visually impaired work in a number of industries and professional sectors of our economy. Vision Forward has a goal of helping people achieve economic, social and personal independence. We collaborate with organizations that assist people in achieving their highest level of self-sufficiency. The following are brief descriptions of resources and organizations for people who are visually impaired and seeking job training and employment. We are always available for one-on-one consultations to determine what training and employment services may be appropriate.
For those wishing to explore career possibilities, the American Foundation of the Blind operates CareerConnect, a free resource for people who want to learn about the range and diversity of jobs performed by adults who are blind or visually impaired.
For individuals seeking job training, The Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provides employment services and counseling to people with disabilities. Vision Forward collaborates with DVR to provide services and skills training for individuals seeking work. Contact DVR to learn more about their services at 800-442-3477.
Beyond Vision is a manufacturing company that operates as a nonprofit with the mission of employing people who are legally blind by selling blind-made products and services. If you are interested in working at Beyond Vision, email or call 414-778-5800.
Industries for the Blind, Inc. of Milwaukee is another organization that provides employment opportunities for people who are blind and visually impaired. Industries for the Blind, Inc. of Milwaukee (IB Milwaukee) is a self-sustaining, nonprofit organization that provides individuals the opportunity to work, grow, develop life skills and maintain independence through meaningful jobs. To learn more about job opportunities at Industries for the Blind call Human Resources at 414-778-3040.
What scholarships are available for visually impaired students?
Vision Forward Association has established a scholarship to benefit students who are blind and visually impaired in Wisconsin, with a preference to those living in Southeastern Wisconsin. Scholarship money may be used for education-related expenses, including tuition, technology (such as computers and software), books and classroom materials, and any other educational items approved by the Scholarship Committee. For more information and a scholarship application, contact Terri Davis, Executive Director, 414-615-0102 or .
The following organizations also offer scholarships to students who are blind or visually impaired.
American Foundation for the Blind List of Scholarships and Grants
Association of Blind Citizens Scholarship
The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International Scholarship
I want to buy a refurbished computer, who should I contact?
If you want to buy an affordable computer now, you may contact Jeff at ISE Systems at 414-875-8120. A typical system setup costs about $250. This includes Windows XP, a computer and a monitor. If you have adaptive software and hardware, this can be installed.
Will Vision Forward Association talk to our group about how to live successfully with changing vision? Can we come for a tour of the Association?
Yes, Vision Forward is committed to reaching out to the community with educational presentations to raise awareness of services available to individuals and families affected by vision loss and reduce the societal stigma associated with blindness and visual impairment.
Is Vision Forward Association affiliated with any national organizations?
Vision Forward is proud to be a member of the VisionServe Alliance, a national council of private agencies for the blind and visually impaired organized for charitable and educational purposes.