Lighthouse of Manasota



Support Groups

Support Groups offer understanding and encouragement to both the clients and their families as they learn to put their new skills into daily life.

Supports groups offer:

Groups within Sarasota County

Lighthouse of Manasota
First and third Friday, each month
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Ken Flemming, (941) 536-0827

EnLIGHTenment (Ages 55 and under)
Second Friday, each month
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Niki Kissell, (941) 359-1404

South County Group
Alternate Tuesdays at different locations
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Joel Bauer, (941) 426-0554

Red Cane

Check back for more information.


Crafts Club: Meets the second and fourth Thursday each month from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Computer Club: Meets the second Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Talking Book Club: Meets the first Friday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Click to check out our events calendar

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you located? Our main office address is 7318 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, Florida, conveniently located on North Tamiami Trail (US 41), just north of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. Satellite classes are also held in Venice, Sebring and Arcadia.

What will I learn in an Orientation & Mobility training? Trainings will vary from individual, home instruction to community based travel. Trainings are tailored to meet the client’s goals and abilities. Awareness of in both the home and unfamiliar places.

What will I learn in a class? Classes provide education in proven techniques that improve daily living. Classes include lectures, hands-on learning activities and guest speakers who share information about local services and resources. You will learn about tactile tools, digital devices such as talking books, and a host of other topics.

What is Vision Rehabilitation? "Vision Rehabilitation" is a process where people experiencing vision loss learn new ways to approach tasks and daily living.

What is the difference between blindness and low vision?

Blindness is defined as the state of being sightless. A blind individual is unable to see. In a strict sense the word blindness denotes the condition of total blackness of vision with the inability of a person to distinguish darkness from bright light in either eye. The terms blind and blindness have been modified in our society to include a wide range of visual impairment. Blindness is frequently used today to describe severe visual decline in one or both eyes with maintenance of some residual vision.

Vision impairment, or Low Vision, means that even with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, you don't see well. Vision impairment can range from mild to severe. Worldwide, between 300 million and 400 million people are visually impaired due to various causes. Of this group, approximately 50 million people are totally blind. Approximately 80% of blindness occurs in people over 50 years old.

Is transportation to classes provided? Transportation arrangements are provided by the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) and Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) systems, by family, friends, or Lighthouse volunteer drivers.

Is there a cost to attend Lighthouse activities? No. The Lighthouse does not charge clients or their families for services nor does it bill any insurance providers.

Do you speak Spanish? Yes. Interviews for services can be held in Spanish. Please call to schedule an appointment.

Blindness and Low Vision statistics


Here's a list of useful links for the blind and visually-impaired community:

Florida Braille and Talking Books Library

A search engine for Braille and talking book libraries in Florida.

Access Lynx

A shared ride Para-transit, door-to-door transportation van service provided by MV Transportation under the supervision of LYNX. The program is for eligible individuals who aren't able to use our regular bus service (also called "fixed route") because of a disability.

AMD Alliance

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50 in the Western world, affecting approximately 25-30 million people. However, vision loss should not be an inevitable consequence of aging. The AMD Alliance International is a global coalition of vision and seniors' organizations dedicated to raising awareness of AMD and the options available for prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and support services.

American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the largest national membership association of Eye M.D.s. Eye M.D.s are ophthalmologists, medical doctors who provide comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical and optical care. More than 90 percent of practicing U.S. Eye M.D.s are Academy members, and the Academy has more than 7,000 international members.

American Academy of Optometry

Founded in 1922, the goal of the AAO is to maintain and enhance excellence in optometric practice. The AAO does this by fostering research and the dissemination of knowledge in both basic and applied vision science.

American Association of Certified Orthoptists

The American Orthoptic Council (AOC) was founded in 1935 with the main purpose of establishing standards for orthoptists in the United States. Besides examining and certifying individual orthoptists, the AOC also is responsible for setting and monitoring standards for the education of orthoptists, and grants accreditation to orthoptic programs in the United States. It encourages and helps to provide continuing education for recertification, and establishes guidelines for the professional and ethical conduct of certified orthoptists.

American Foundation for the Blind

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology, elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss, and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources.

American Foundation for the Blind Senior Site

Are you an older person experiencing visual impairment? This site was designed with you in mind. It contains helpful solutions and resources that can help you and your family members cope with vision problems.

Blinded Veterans Association

Blinded veterans helping blinded veterans.

Canine Companions for Independence

Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional people

Center for Independent Living

Connecting your business to highly motivated people.

Division of Blind Services

The Division of Blind Services is Florida's state agency responsible for ensuring that people of all ages in the state who are blind or visually impaired can live independently and achieve their goals. Also, its Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library administers a free library program of Braille and recorded materials for eligible readers.


The association provides all possible assistance to the promotion, development and improvement of all phases of education and rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired persons of all ages in Florida.

Family Connect

For parents of children with visual impairments.

Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind

FAASB mission is to serve as a united voice and be the organizational support empowering private agencies serving Floridians with blindness and visual impairment to provide state-of-the-art professional vision rehabilitation services which enhance the quality of individual and community life.

Florida Council of the Blind

The Florida Council of the Blind, a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, is a statewide organization of blind people working to make life better through public education, legislative actions, and providing a statewide information and referral service through Project Insight.

Florida Council of the Blind Discussion List

Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind

FAASB mission is to serve as a united voice and be the organizational support empowering private agencies serving Floridians with blindness and visual impairment to provide state-of-the-art professional vision rehabilitation services which enhance the quality of individual and community life.

Florida Disabled Outdoors Association

Florida Disabled Outdoors Association enriches lives through accessible, inclusive recreation for all.

Florida Division of Elections

The mission of the director's office is to provide statewide coordination and direction for the interpretation and enforcement of election laws, as required by the Florida Statutes, and to provide supervision to the Bureaus in the division.

Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that works with people who have physical or mental disabilities to prepare for, gain or retain employment. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers.

Florida House of Representatives

The official website of the Florida House of Representatives.

Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired

The Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired (FIMC-VI) is a statewide resource center designed to assist schools in obtaining specialized materials for students with visual impairments. Established in 1972 by the Florida Legislature, FIMC-VI operates under the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services through a grant agreement with the School District of Hillsborough County.

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind

Established in 1885, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind has preserved its rich history and traditions that continue to remain a cornerstone for Florida's Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and Blind/Visually-Impaired education.

Florida Senate

The official website of the Florida Senate.

Home Health Care Agencies has compiled extensive home health care information such as licensing requirements and state contacts.

HUD in Florida

The Florida state link to he United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Independent Transport Network

VA community-based, community-supported, economically viable and consumer-oriented, quality transportation service for seniors.

Macular Degeneration Partnership

If you have macular degeneration, or know someone who does, this is the place for you. There is hope and help. Whether you were just diagnosed or have had AMD a long time, you can find the information, resources and support you need right here. Family members and caregivers can learn what it's like to have macular degeneration and how they can help.


Macular Degeneration Support is a world-wide non-profit public service that provides information and support for people who are affected by macular degeneration and similar retinal diseases.


The National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education (NAPCSE) is national association that is dedicated to ensuring that all children and adolescents with special needs receive the best education possible. NAPCSE serves the interest of parents with children in special education by giving them numerous resources within the field of special education. By having an association that they can truly call their own, parents with children in special education now has an association that is completely devoted to their needs. NAPCSE advances and strengthens its community through networking, research, publications, and membership benefits.

National Association of Blind Veterans

We are a group of blind veterans, service connected and not service connected who are concerned about the welfare, and well-being of our fellow blind veterans. We want to make sure they all have the benefit of the resources that are offered by the National Federation of the Blind. These resources can mean the difference between successfully navigating the myriad of agencies charged with assisting blind veterans and being stuck in the quagmire of red tape that can stifle and stall even the most highly motivated of us.

Prevent Blindness

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year.

Social Security and Disability Resource Center

Provides answers to questions concerning how to apply for disability, how to appeal a claim in the event of a denial, how to navigate the federal system, and how to avoid certain mistakes that are commonly made by applicants filing for either SSD (social security disability) or SSI (supplemental security income) benefits.

Southeastern Guide Dogs

We create and nurture a partnership between a visually impaired individual and a guide dog, facilitating life's journey with mobility, independence and dignity.

Vision Technology

For 17 years, the company's ground-breaking products have redefined desktop video magnification by setting new standards in features, products and excellence.


Very informational and a "Self-Help for Vision Loss" website that provides free, practical, hands-on information to enhance quality of life and independence for adults with vision loss, their families and friends, caregivers, and related professionals.

VisionServe Alliance

FPreviously known as: National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI). In April 2008, NCPABVI was renamed to VisionServe Alliance representing the Non-profit sector of services to those who are blind or visually impaired.

Voting Absentee in Florida

The Florida Division of Elections office information about absentee voting. Absentee voting refers to voting on a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a person who is unable or cannot go to the polls to vote during early voting or Election Day.

Signs of Vision Loss in Children

This checklist highlights three areas of concern in detecting symptoms of learning-related vision problems.

1. Appearance of the Eyes

2. Behavioral Indications of Possible Vision Difficulty 3. Complaints Associated With Using the Eyes

Lighthouse of Manasota | 7318 N Tamiami Trail | Sarasota, FL 34243 | (941) 359-1404