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OBVI: The Process of Adjusting to Vision Loss

Adjusting to vision loss is a sequential process, which follows the same pattern, or phases, as that of adjusting to any of life's many traumas or crises. The adjustment process may be lengthy, or you may find it goes quite quickly. The length of time or number of setbacks is highly dependent upon the individual.

In the Office for the Blind and Visually Impaired (OBVI), our role as professionals is not only to teach technical skills that accommodate for a person's vision loss, but also to assist the individual through the phases of adjustment.

The following is a brief outline of these phases, based on Dr. Dean Tuttle's research on self-esteem and adjusting to blindness¹, and what role OBVI staff may take.

Phase One: Trauma
Phase Two: Shock and Denial
Phase Three: Mourning and Withdrawal
Phase Four: Succumbing and Depression
Phase Five: Reassessment and Reaffirmation
Phase Six: Coping and Mobilization
Phase Seven: Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteem

¹Tuttle, Dean W., and Naomi R. Tuttle. Self-esteem and Adjusting with Blindness: The Process of Responding to Life's Demands. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 2004. Print.

Last revised November 5, 2021