Vision Impairment (VI) Program

The VI Program at BOCES 2

Student writing
The Vision Impairment (VI) Program at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES provides educational services to a wide range of students of varying ages and abilities with low vision or blindness. These students have medically diagnosed eye conditions that impact learning in ways that can affect a range of subject and developmental areas. 

Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) conduct informal and formal assessments to help determine how a student’s vision loss is affecting their learning and what modifications or vision service levels might be needed to support them.

Who Provides the Service?

Student interacting with teacher
There are two types of teachers available from our program: Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS).

  • TVI are designated NYSED-licensed teachers and provide specialized instruction and services required to meet the unique educational needs of visually impaired students. Our teachers possess the skills and abilities necessary to successfully provide and coordinate this specialized instruction.
  • COMS are certified by the Academy for Certification of Vision and Rehabilitation Professionals (ARCVEP). Their goal is to teach students who are blind or visually impaired to travel safely and efficiently from one location to another.

While COMS and TVI have different training and different roles in the education of students with visual impairments, there are many ways in which the two disciplines overlap.  

Who Gets the Service?

Student walking down a hallway
A student with a vision impairment is one whose vision, even with correction, adversely impacts their educational performance. Visual impairments may result from congenital defects, eye diseases or injuries to the eye.

Blindness refers to visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye after correction or a limitation in the field of vision that subtends an angle of 20 degrees. Some students who are legally blind have useful vision.

Visually Impaired refers to visual acuity falling within the range of 20/70 to 20/200 in the better eye after correction OR a limitation in the field of vision that adversely impacts educational progress.
  • Progressive visual disorders: medically indicated expectations of visual deterioration may be considered for vision impaired eligibility based on documentation from the student’s optometrist or ophthalmologist.
  • Cortical visual impairment (CVI): Students who appear to be more visually impaired than one would suspect on the basis of their eye exam or students whose visual ability appears to be highly variable for no apparent reason may be suffering from damage to the visual pathway or visual cortex. This is called CVI and is now the leading cause of blindness in USA.

For More Information

Thomas Gallagher
Department Chair 
160 Wallace Way
Rochester, NY 14624
Phone: (585) 617-2335 
Fax: (585) 349-8897

How We Help

The goal of the VI Program is to ensure educational success for all our students, while preparing them for an independent and rewarding future. Our dedicated Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists play vital roles in the educational experience of our students.

Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) assist the visually impaired student along with their parents, other education personnel, and sighted peers in understanding their unique learning characteristics and the educational implications of their specific eye condition. They consult with the parents, classroom teacher and school administrators to coordinate programs and services and make environmental or material adjustments to ensure maximum student participation in all classroom activities.

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) nurture independent travel, along with many other life skills, during O & M lessons. These include:
    Concept development for young children
    Directionality and spatial orientation
    Listening skills
    Understanding maps, direction, signs and routes
    Orientation to new areas

Student reading a road sign