Businesses Check for the Checkered Eye


Like many people with low vision, Libby Thaw of Port Elgin, Ontario, has experienced barriers from time to time while shopping in her community. Often the disability is not obvious to clerks and business owners, and confusion, frustration or embarrassment can result. But Libby has taken the matter into her own hands by developing a lapel pin she calls the “Checkered Eye” that can be worn by people with vision disabilities to facilitate customer service.

Libby has been promoting the initiative to local businesses, encouraging staff to check for the pin, and giving them a list of helpful hints for serving customers with low vision. (Sample tips include: “Read them their cash register total, as they may not be able to see it”; and, “If a signature is required, indicate where, by placing your finger where you would normally mark an X.”)

Many businesses in Port Elgin now display a sticker stating that “we check for the Checkered Eye.” The community at large has also been made more aware of the Checkered Eye through local media and council meetings.

And interest in the project is spreading outside of Libby’s town. The Vancouver Island District of the CNIB says it’s exploring the possibilities presented by such an awareness tool.

For more information about the Checkered Eye, call Libby Thaw at (519) 389-4956 or e-mail


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