Dr. Douglas C. MacFarland, 58, an authority on rehabilitation of the blind, died Tuesday at his home in Sprinfield, Va., after a heart attack.

At the time of this death, he was director of the office for the blind and visually handicapped of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Dr. MacFarland who had been blind since the age of 9, joined HEW here in 1964 as chief of the division of services to the blind in what was then the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration.

Before that, he had served for 10 years with the Virginia Commission for the Visually Handicapped in Richmond, first as assistant director and then four years as director.

Born in Jersey City, N.J., Dr. MacFarland graduated with honors from New York University, where he received a bachelor's degree in personnel, guidance and administration and master's and doctor's degrees in vocational rehabilitation.

He served for six years in placement and counseling work with the New Jersey Commission for the Blind in Newark and four years as vocational counselor and supervisor with the Delaware Commission for the Blind in Wilmington before joining the Virginia Commission.

Dr. MacFarland had served twice as president of the American Associa

He had been a trustee of the board of directors of the American Foundation for the Blind, cochairman of the committee on industrial and rural employment of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind and an advisor to the Seeing Eye Grants Foundation.

He was a life member of the National Rehabilitation Association and the author of numerous published articles and papers.

Awards to Dr. MacFarland for his work on behalf of the blind included the Order of the Republic of Tunisia and the Migel Medal of the Amercian Foundation for the Blind.

This July, Dr. MacFarland was to have received the Ambrose Shotwell Award, the highest honor of the American Association of Workers for the Blind. It will be awarded post-thumously.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie MacFarland; a son, Douglas C. Jr., and a daughter, Holly, all of the home; another daughter, Carolyn Nicklen, of Stockton, N.J., and four sisters, Clara Small and Jane Lostalluto, both of Freehold, N.J., and Dorothy Darbert and Margaret Pierse, both of Edgeton, N.J

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Association of Workers for the Blind in Washington or Providence Presbyterian Church in Fairfax.