Blindness and Low Vision: Definitions, Conditions and Experiences

Welcome back to another Accessibility and Inclusion training module. We are certain that you will find the information in this module to be very helpful in understanding blindness. Blindness is not simple. For most people with vision impairment, it is not a matter of seeing nothing versus seeing clearly. The reality is that the majority of visually impaired individuals’ ability to see falls somewhere in between.

For instance, Cataract sufferers may experience varying degrees of cloudy or fuzzy images and struggle to see shapes, whereas someone with macular degeneration might retain normal peripheral vision but gradually lose central vision. A diabetic’s visual problems tend to manifest as shadows and blurring, while glaucoma sufferers might live with haziness and tunnel vision.

In addition, environmental conditions such as light, time of day and background may affect an individual’s ability to see.

Understanding this information may help you solve the mystery of why your coworker Susan is able to see you really well while sitting at the opposite end of the well-lit conference table, but she doesn’t seem to recognize you when you are coming down the dimly lit hallway, no matter how close you get. You can be certain she is not snubbing you!

We will start this module by comparing some definitions and terminology often associated with blindness.

Go to Definitions and Terminology, opens in a new window


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