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Service Organizations for the Blind

            1 million Americans are legally blind; about 54,000 of these individuals are under the age of nineteen, and about 370,000 are eighty-five years of age or older ("Statistics about the Blind-). This leaves about 676,000 working-age people who cannot see well enough to drive a motor vehicle, read signs at varying distances, or even tell the difference between light and dark. Before one can fully grasp the concept of such staggering figures, one must first know the meaning of the word blind. Blindness is a physical condition in which vision is absent in one or both eyes. This condition can occur at birth, or, more commonly, it can occur at later stages in life due to varying factors, such as pressure within the eye, diabetes or a damaged retina ("Blindness-). In an increasingly visual world, it is difficult for blind and visually impaired individuals to function as highly productive citizens. Fortunately, this fact has not escaped the notice of a few caring individuals who had enough foresight to form organizations catering specifically to the needs of blind and visually impaired people around the world. Since the early 1900s, Lions Clubs International, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the National Federation of the Blind have been aiding the blind and visually impaired by providing the latest technology, specialized medical attention, and other volunteer services.
             Although all of these organizations perform notable services for the blind and visually impaired, each one does not necessarily focus on the same area as the others. Lions Clubs International, more formally, the International Association of Lions Clubs, is one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations, well noted for its work with the blind and visually impaired. Lions International also specializes in drug and alcohol abuse prevention, as well as diabetes awareness. There are currently about 46,000 clubs in 192 countries.

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