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Frequently Asked Questions

Although Blindness is a way of life for some, it remains a mystery to others. The best way gain insight is by asking questions.

When was Miami Lighthouse established?
Does Miami Lighthouse have more than one location?
Can people who are blind see?
What does it cost to receive services?
Is transportation provided?
Who qualifies for services?
Is Miami Lighthouse part of a national organization?
What is macular degeneration?
What is a cataract?
What is glaucoma?
What is diabetic retinopathy?

When was Miami Lighthouse established?

Miami Lighthouse was established in 1931 by Dolly Gamble, through the encouragement of blindness icon, Helen Keller.

Does Miami Lighthouse have more than one location?

No, our main facility is located at 601 SW 8th Avenue in Miami, Florida. There are other Lighthouse facilities nationwide, however unaffiliated with Miami Lighthouse.

Is Miami Lighthouse part of a national organization?

No, Miami Lighthouse is independent of other blindness organizations, although we do share information and network with other agencies. All the funds we receive are used exclusively for our organization.

What does it cost to receive services?

There is no charge to clients to receive services. There is a large selection of practical items that can assist with daily activities in our store, Solutions, which is open to clients and the general public. Prices vary depending on the product.

Is transportation provided?

Miami Lighthouse provides round-trip transportation from clients’ homes on 12-passenger vans with no charge to the clients. Trips vary depending on how many clients are on each van.

For satellite clients who are unable to arrange their own transportation, we will arrange round-trips through local, licensed school van services.

Most clients find that the most comfortable trip is achieved when they arrange their own transportation.

Who qualifies for services?

People who are blind or visually impaired and are legal residents of Miami-Dade or Monroe County, Florida qualify for free services. Services are also available to non-residents for a fee. Scholarships are sometimes available for those who cannot afford the services. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine the visual acuity of a child, so admission for children is determined case-by-case. Adults who are visually impaired are generally accepted if they have a visual impairment that results in a substantial impediment to his or her abilities to function independently or to become employed.

Can people who are blind see?

Yes. A very small percentage of people who are considered legally blind have no sight. Each individual is different based on his or her eye condition. Some individuals may see light, shadows or certain shapes. Others may have perfect central vision and no peripheral (side) vision or the reverse. Some individuals may see well indoors, but in extreme light or darkness, they have difficulty seeing.

What is macular degeneration?

*This is an eye disease that results in the loss of central vision due to damage to the macula. There are two forms of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Dry macular degeneration includes a gradual and spotty loss of detail in vision. Wet macular degeneration includes a sudden and severe loss of central vision. Macular degeneration is more prevalent generally among older Americans.

What is a cataract?

*A cataract is a clouding of the lens, which causes an individual to see through a haze. There is a loss of contrast and increased sensitivity to glare. The lens may be replaced by a plastic one through surgery.

What is glaucoma?

*Glaucoma is an eye disease related to high pressure inside the eye, which leads to damage of the optic nerve. This damage affects peripheral (side) vision. There is also a loss of contrast and an individual with glaucoma may have difficulty seeing in dark situations.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

*Diabetic retinopathy is caused by leaking blood vessels that damage the retina, which may lead to blurred vision and near vision distortion. This eye disease is one of the complications of advanced or long-term diabetes.

Click here for common symptoms of vision problems in children


* This information is from Lighthouse International’s booklet, “Vision Loss is Not a Normal Part of Aging.”





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Sales of the “State of Vision” license plate support services to blind and visually impaired people. Miami Lighthouse is the recipient of a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this license plate. The cost is $25.00 in addition to the regular registration fee.




Parent Testimonials

  • "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful work that you do with my son Erick. May God bless him."
    - Greila

  • "Miami Lighthouse for the Blind has changed the lives of my family and our daughter. Without your support and constant encouragement, raising an infant who is visually impaired would be overwhelming, scary and clouded with sadness. Instead, our family feels privileged to be able to be
    a part of this incredible organization, thanks to our daughter. She is currently enrolled at the school
    and has participated in the infant programs – the effort and individual attention you provide to the families and students goes beyond an individual
    job description and salary – the drive comes solely from their passion to service those who are often overlooked in our society. I cannot thank you
    enough for your dedication."
    - Lisa Jess


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Miami Lighthouse was recognized at the 2015 Florida Blue Foundation Sapphire Awards luncheon as an organization that has demonstrated excellence and innovation in community health.


Miami Lighthouse ranks among the elite 1% of U.S. nonprofits having earned eleven consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, the nation's premier independent nonprofit evaluator. Receiving such a distinction reflects our sound fiscal management, responsible use of donor dollars, and financial strength.


Miami Lighthouse has earned the Gold participation level through the GuideStar Exchange which is a testament to Miami Lighthouse's commitment to data transparency.


Early Intervention Blind Babies Program Named the Children's Trust 2016 Program of the Year. This most prestigious award recognizes this Early Intervention Program, in particular, for including parents as teachers.







Miami New Times - Best of Miami 2017




Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2015 Beacon Award in Education at the 13th Annual Beacon Council Awards.


Miami Lighthouse was the recipient of the 2013 Switchboard Miami All Star Most Valuable Non-Profit Award.


Miami Lighthouse is a two-time Charity Partner (2013 and 2014) of the Marlins Foundation and a 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Legacy Partner. Our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program has received over $300,000 in charitable donations through these partnerships.


Miami Lighthouse named "Best of Miami" Charity 2017 by the New Times.






Miami Lighthouse received United Homecare’s 2012 Thelma Gibson Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Ceremony.


Miami Lighthouse received a Silver medal at the 2016 Miami Today Gold Medal Awards Ceremony.


Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach category.


Miami Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond Award.


Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida.


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