Empowering the blind and visually impaired with East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind


As part of their Subaru Support series, Peltier Subaru in Tyler is featuring a non-profit organization each month. For February, our latest stop takes us to the East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, a non-profit serving the blind and visually impaired through rehabilitation, education, training, and employment.

Founded in 1976, the East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind is based in Tyler where they are able to offer a variety of services such as providing assistive technology, learning independent living skills, a low vision store with devices you can test out, and employment opportunities among many others.

“We also have a training facility here. So the idea of someone losing their vision later in life, adjusting to being blind, we have a kitchen, we have a bed, we have a bathroom. We have this facility where we can actually do hands on training for people to adjust to doing things, just a different way, right? When you lose your vision, life doesn’t stop.”

—  Alicia Lansford, Chief Mission Officer

In 2022 alone, they served around 400 people who are blind or visually impaired, while also training nearly 600 of those who are sighted in the medical field on how to better serve patients they may have who are blind. The Lighthouse also works to find how they can best help you on an individual level and truly assess what your needs may be. This starts by needing your eye report to understand what level of blindness you may be at.

While many think of blindness as complete darkness, there is much more of a spectrum on what constitutes legal blindness is and how much help may be needed. This can be through the tools that are available in the store, help with grand applications for expensive needs, and taking classes and learning how to adjust to life without full vision. Many of the instructors for the classes at The Lighthouse are also blind and know what it’s like to be seeking these classes.

Another great way that they are able to support those in need that come to The Lighthouse for assistance, they are able to help many get a job at Horizon Industries, another division of The Lighthouse, which in turn helps support funding for the programs.

“One of our missions is that we employ people who are blind. Many of our instructors are blind themselves, so we have to coordinate schedules to where we have drivers to be able to get our team out into the field,” said Lansford. “We want to talk to anybody that’s struggling with anything that’s blind or visually impaired. And we can craft a creative solution that works for them and works for us.”

In the summer of 2022, Camp Lighthouse came together as the first summer camp where The Lighthouse partners with several local businesses to house kids dealing with vision impairment and blindness in Tyler for a multiple day event. It is made for those in high school (not only in East Texas, but for any who can come to the camp) to be empowered and learn that they can still be independent.

Camp Lighthouse is planned to be an event each summer and is free for those attending, with the costs covered by the sponsors who help bring the camp to life.

There are many opportunities to help out the East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. These include giving time to help out during special events or in the office, donating items or money that can provide much needed help for the equipment and programs.

To learn more about The Lighthouse you can visit their website or check out their Facebook page to keep up with special events and what’s happening.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of assistance due to blindness or vision impairment, East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind can be contacted Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM at 903-593-3111.

Peltier Subaru Supports is the latest initiative at The East Texas Weekend created to highlight local non-profits around East Texas. Each month we will feature a new organization in our region to highlight their importance within our community. If you have an idea for our next feature, let us know by emailing us here.

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Jade Allen

Jade Allen

Jade Allen explores East Texas to bring the most exciting activities and locations to The East Texas Weekend. Jade came to Texas in 2018, where it has steadily become a home and a place to explore.