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November 9, 2009

The Role of Braille in the Literacy of Blind and Visually Impaired Children

Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(11):1530-1531. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.295

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille's birth, we are reminded that Braille's raised-dot tactile reading system for the blind is still the means by which blind people read. Obviously, great progress has been made during the past 200 years in preventing blindness and restoring sight, but it is probably safe to say that there will always be a need for braille. The past 200 years have also seen tremendous advances in assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired, such as optical character–recognition voice-output reading machines in cell phones (eg, KNFB Reader), sophisticated screen-reader software for personal computers, handheld portable video magnifiers, and lightweight spectacle microscopes made with diffractive optics. Although modern technology makes print more accessible to the blind and visually impaired, braille still has a central role to play.

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