At-Home COVID-19 Tests Exclude Blind People

Testing for the virus has been challenging for blind people, but there are options to modify tests to accommodate.

A recent New York Times article discussed one of the main issues with at-home tests for COVID-19: accessibility to blind people. Because they can’t drive themselves to testing facilities, and most tests require precisely-placed liquid drops that require eyesight, many bline people are opting to self-isolate rather than test regularly. However, there are some workarounds that can help.

Some blind people are able to take at-home tests with the assistance of video apps like Be My Eyes and Aira. There are pregnancy tests that use battery-operated motors that transform chemical changes on strips into raised bumps that can be read like braille. This technology could be modified for use with COVID-19 tests, though the costs could be high. Another solution could be a test that changes in smell or temperature to indicate results. However, scent isn’t always available for patients affected by the virus. With roughly 12 million people with compromised vision in the U.S. alone, a functional solution for blind testing could be quite fruitful.

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