Description Of Organization And Services

When individuals experience a significant loss of vision and find it difficult to continue their active, independent life styles, they can turn to the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) for solutions. The IDB is the state agency that provides services to keep individuals who are blind or visually impaired living independently and working competitively. The Independent Living program operated by IDB primarily serves individuals 55 and older. Independent living staff members travel throughout the state, meeting with individuals in their homes to help implement easy ways to complete everyday tasks when vision loss makes things difficult. Things we might assist with include, but are not limited to: • Placing raised bumps on microwaves, telephones, remote controls, and other appliances so they can be set by touch. • Converting phone numbers, addresses, and recipes into a format easier to use, such as large print or audio. • Completing applications for the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (to receive free audio books and magazines), free newspaper reading programs, and directory assistance exemptions. • Labeling medications, clothing, canned goods and other household items for easier identification. • Providing information on devices available to assist with every day tasks. This may include talking clocks, large print playing cards, or magnifiers. IDB offers many other services in addition to Independent Living. For more information, call 800-362-2587. You may also visit

Emily Wharton
Agency Director

524 Fourth Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
United States

Business Phone

Monday through Friday - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday - Closed Sunday - Closed Closed Holidays


The Iowa Department for the Blind provides a variety of services, and the eligibility criteria depends upon the program the individual is seeking. If an individual is unable to read standard print efficiently, s/he qualifies for at least one of our many services.

Cost of Service

Services are free to those who qualify.

United Way Affiliate
Date Last Updated