Why we’re here: ERI’s Purpose

Research is an important part of Envision’s mission to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration for those who are blind or visually impaired. Here at the Envision Research Institute, we’re helping to do just that through innovative applied research, with the goal of removing functional barriers for people with blindness or vision loss.

While major strides have been made, globally we still face significant gaps in the scientific understanding of vision loss and rehabilitation. Many federal agencies (e.g., NIDILRR, NIH and NSF) have a research framework that include goals relevant to the ERI mission:

  • Better Understanding of Visual Impairment Impact on Everyday Function
  • Assistive Device Technology R&D (including Smart Home Technology)
  • Accelerate the translation of basic research into clinical studies
  • Improving Blind Rehabilitation and Vision Rehabilitation (e.g., BVI Telerehabilitation)
  • Strengthen the pool of vision rehabilitation researchers (including clinician scientists and attracting young researchers from other disciplines to apply their knowledge to vision rehabilitation research)

The good news? ERI is uniquely positioned to further the understanding of visual impairment through direct contact with Envision’s incredibly diverse community of individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The founding of the Envision Research Institute not only helps fulfill Envision’s mission, but also addresses needs in the national rehabilitation science and health agenda.

Why the need for ERI is now

Visual impairment can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to function in daily life, with impairment ranging from mild to severe, including total blindness. Age-related diseases can cause vision loss later in life, leading to decreased independence, isolation and depression. Premature birth, genetics and trauma can affect vision in the youngest children, presenting lifetime barriers to education and assimilation in the community.

Today, because of technological and medical advances, the birth survival rate is increasing, and the adult lifespan has been lengthened. Progress on both fronts means that the number of people with blindness or vision loss is increasing—and will continue to do so. There’s never been a more urgent need for low vision advancement, education and awareness.

Learn More About Our Mission And Purpose