January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to share information that can help people fight the condition in the early stages. Because glaucoma is generally asymptomatic in the early stages, awareness is especially important for this disease that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. Regular eye exams help people detect glaucoma early, which drastically improves prognoses and quality of life. For more information on National Glaucoma Awareness Month, visit the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness, and early detection means more visual acuity can be preserved. Patients often don’t notice that their vision is deteriorating until it becomes severe. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) supports people who suffer from glaucoma by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for people with conditions that affect their ability to work.
Glaucoma and Web Accessibility
Web accessibility makes the internet easier to use for people dealing with glaucoma and other visual conditions. Of course, the specific measures websites need to take can vary widely depending on the disability and the nature of the website, but screen readers, which turn text into speech for the visually impaired, are one of the main ways to make websites more accessible.
Websites of all kinds are attempting to make their content more accessible and inclusive, and recent advances in technology have made this easier than ever. Read our guide on screen readers for more information on how these assistive devices work.
Both Mac and Windows users are able to access screen-reading technology for free, which has led to the service becoming extremely popular. However, it can be difficult for these programs to correctly interpret complicated pages, so it’s important to test them on your website and make sure they’re conveying the same information that other users are getting. You can find more information on our blog about testing your website’s compatibility with screen readers.
Is My Website Accessible?
Improving internet accessibility is important for a number of reasons. First, it creates an inclusive environment and allows people to access your content regardless of any disabilities or conditions. By broadening your audience, you position your business as a welcoming brand that strives to make your products or services available to any and all potential customers.
Additionally, as the demand for online services has increased, the courts have repeatedly found that websites have an obligation to improve accessibility. Those that fail to make their content available to everyone have been confronted with lawsuits and often substantial penalties. This trend has further accelerated under the Trump administration, and savvy businesses will stay ahead of the curve.
We recommend that all websites adhere to the standards set forth in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at levels A and AA. Taking proactive steps to make your website more accessible to users will protect you from litigation and widen the scope of your audience.