being architect with a low eyesight


Hello everybody !

Next year I will begin to study architecture in France (I'm only 17) but I have some questions about softwares used by architects in general. I have a low eyesight because of a rare disease, so I need to be close to my computer screen or to use the Windows Magnifier ("Win","+" about 200%). I've noticed that using softwares like Photoshop or Autocad was very important. I am already using Sketchup but it's kind of hard with the Magnifier. 

So I was wondering if some of you had also these kinds of problems or just know someone with, and what are the solution to deal with it. It would be very helpfull, thanks !

Mar 18, 18 3:53 pm

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Michael Noll

This doesn't answer your specific question, but I am reminded of a blind architect that I read about some time ago.  Apologies if you've already heard of him, but his name is Chris Downey.

Mar 18, 18 4:45 pm

thanks for your answer ! I didn't know Chris Downey, but after some researchs I think he proves that sometimes we are limiting ourselves "without" reasons.


Sorry, don't have any solutions for you.  I don't have the problem myself but it is on the back of my mind.  I'm in my my 30's with a negative 9 vision on both eyes.  I don't have issues now (fingers crossed) but wonder about what might happen as I grow older as I know few people with perfect vision go blind or have poor vision as they reached retirement age or due to conditions like diabetes. 

Its good to know there are architects who are entirely blind like Chris Downey and keep practicing architecture. It is entirely possible to work in this industry with poor vision or when faced with blindness, aside from certain obstacles to work around.  When starting out as a junior, most do work on softwares and are in a way drafters for the project architect or principal.  The higher up in the ranks you go, your knowledge in architecture, ideas, logic, decision making skills start to matter more, and you delegate drafting work instead of doing it yourself.  I know you're just starting out in your education but know you can go as far in this career as you want.  Blindness certainly doesn't mean an end to one's architecture career.

All the best!

Mar 18, 18 6:03 pm

Thank you for the answer :) actually I always had good marks at school because each year I've found different kinds of ways to adapt myself, so I know that I will do the same at university. But at the moment I am looking for alternatives to effectively use softwares. I've seen many architects using computers all day long, so I wanted to be reassured and see if it will be possible for me to do the same after university.


Similar to Accesskb, I have very poor, but correctable vision.  There was a kid a couple years ahead of me who seemed to have a similar issue.  I know that he graduated but not sure what his career has been like.

If you can find a good niche you may not have any insurmountable issues.  There is far more to architecture than design and renderings.

Mar 19, 18 3:09 pm

Ok thanks for the advice !


I have pretty bad eyesight.  I worked in the field for a stint of 5 years (barely any computer work, just some schedules, payapp stuff, contracts) and my eyesight actually got "marginally" better.  I didn't get a prescription change.  I'm 3 years into a traditional architectural desk job again now, and my eyesight worsens each year : (

Mar 20, 18 6:12 pm

What do you mean exactly by a "traditional architectural job" ? no computer ?


I've worked as a superintendent on job sites and I've done property condition assessments, field reports, and test/report monitoring for bank clients all as part of the bank's due diligence for loaning money to developers during the contract administration phases. Generally, I'm talking about a slew of non-traditional architectural jobs that kept me outside and looking at real things for 90% of my time, with 10% of my time writing reports. When I say traditional architecture job, I'm still talking about the production side of things (as I've not yet cracked the management circle) where roughly 60% of my time is spent staring at a screen with revit and other programs open, and 30% of my time is staring at a printed set doing redlines for my team. As I'm supposed to have a 100% utilization rate, I should probably know where that remaining 10% is (most likely the emails, god the emails). Obviously during CA I get to go out once a week to each project, which breaks up the monotony a bit.

Wood Guy

I can't help much on the eyesight front, other than to say use a big, high-contrast screen. Having two or even three screens in the 27-32" range should compensate to some degree.

What I can offer is don't let a perceived disability slow you down--there is always a path forward. I stutter ("moderately disfluent" in clinician-speak) which makes communications difficult, but I have pushed through toward a reasonable level of self-employed success, with plans to expand now in the works. A neighbor of mine is a quadriplegic and designed his own house, and I think he could be successful as a home designer, especially for accessible design-focused homes. A significant percentage of the population has some sort of "disability" and being sensitive to the problems others face can be an advantage as a designer. 

Mar 22, 18 10:02 am

I tried to use some architect's softwares on a 27" screen but it didn't helped me, so I will try a larger one. Thanks for the advices !

Featured Comment

Sorry, I just realized that my question wasn't clear. I was actually looking for technological helps to accurately use a design software, because I was'nt sure if a large screen was the right solution. Anyway, thanks for all your answers, it had helped me a lot nevertheless.

Mar 22, 18 11:49 am

I'd suggest you pursue another career that doesn't involve as much desk jockeying. The long hours would probably just exacerbate your vision problem

Be a marine biologist or something

Mar 23, 18 11:26 pm

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