Information about Blindness

An ASD student learns to use a braille writer
  • The word "blindness" may create an image of people who have no sight at all. But medically, a person is blind if he or she has visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye. There are many other misperceptions about people who are blind.

    People who are blind often face challenges in getting around their community, in using computers, in reading, and in gathering information in a visually oriented world. Up to 80 percent of what we learn in early life is information gained through sight. Interacting with other people can also be more difficult for people with vision loss, because there are many subtle, non-verbal clues which contribute to communication.

    But none of these challenges are insurmountable.

    Technology and early intervention are rapidly filling in the gaps. An increasing number of alternative technologies are being developed, for everything from mobility to computer use. Parents of children who are blind or have vision loss can and do learn to use language to convey information other babies absorb through vision. And advances in medical research are steadily reducing the number of people who experience vision loss.

    The most difficult challenge for people who are blind or have vision loss is the beliefs and attitudes of the people who surround them. When people with vision loss are perceived to be less than capable, it has a crippling impact on their lives, socially and economically. Unemployment rates for people who are blind are remarkably high: up to 70% by some estimates.

    Overcoming those perceptions of disability is the major obstacle faced by people who are blind, and it is an obstacle that must be recognized and addressed by our entire society. Disregarding the talents and resources of an entire group of people has economic and social consequences for sighted people as well. 

    For more on recognizing and understanding blindness, please review the following information:

    Who is Blind? 

    Causes of Blindness

    Indications of Low Vision

    Low Vision

    Early Intervention

    Braille

    Orientation & Mobility

    Employment

    Other sources of information