When we think of blindness, what usually comes to mind is the inability to see. But there are many other aspects of visual impairment that vary in degree of severity and impact on daily life.
Having partial sight or no vision at all affects a person’s life in so many different ways. It affects the way you see the world, the way you interact with people around you, and most importantly, your perception of yourself as an individual.
But being visually impaired does not mean the end of the world for these people. On the contrary, persons who have some form of visual impairment have learned to embrace it and find new ways to cope with their condition every day.
Here are 7 interesting facts about blindness you might not know:
Vision loss is a spectrum, not a static condition
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of what “blindness” means. The amount of vision loss varies greatly for each person. In fact, some people who have been diagnosed with blindness may still be able to see a small amount of light or shapes, even if it is difficult for them to recognize what it is.
Visually impaired people can be classified in two main ways: those with low, but not total, vision, and those with total vision loss.
Low vision is generally described as the ability to see up to 20/200. This means that the affected person can only see what a person who is legally blind can see, but with better lighting.
Learning to navigate the world as a visually impaired person
Visually impaired people have learned to navigate the world in a different way than sighted people do. Some use electronic devices, such as talking GPS and smartphones, to read the written word.
Others use an audio device called a reading machine, which magnifies written text up to 32 times. There are also braille machines and readers, as well as large-print books.
Some visually impaired people use a guide dog, or a cane to help them navigate daily life. Others rely on a combination of these strategies.
Visually impaired people have to learn how to find their way around. There are many techniques that help them find their way around, such as using landmarks, paying attention to sounds, using a compass, and asking for directions from other people.
Tactile assistive devices and service dogs are your best friends
TACTILE ASSISTIVE DEVICES – Tactile assistive devices were created to help people with visual impairments explore and sense their environment without the need for a cane or a dog.
These devices are capable of detecting and providing information on walls, steps, and other hazards, as well as reading text to the person thanks to a special scanner. You can also take advantage of smartphone apps that can help you with daily tasks. Some apps can read written text aloud, magnify images and even help you identify the colours of an image.
Service dogs are specially trained to assist people with all types of disabilities, including vision loss. While a dog can’t read a book to you, it can help you navigate the world safely, pick up items you drop and even press elevator buttons for you.
There is no cure for blindness
While there’s no cure for blindness, it’s important to understand that there are treatment options that can improve your vision, allowing you to see again or read more clearly. There are many treatments for blindness, including surgery, medicine, laser therapy and phototherapy.
There have also been advances in technology that can help improve your vision. Several apps can help with reading and navigating, some of which have features that can change based on your vision. Vision rehabilitation programs are also available, which can help with vision problems like macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
Mobility can be difficult for many visually impaired people
Although visually impaired people can learn to navigate the world without assistance, some tasks, like getting around a busy city, can be difficult for them. That’s why other sensory awareness techniques are important for people who are fully blind. These include using a cane or a guide dog, knowing the distance to objects, and using noise-cancelling headphones to help focus on a specific direction.
These techniques can be used to help people get around independently. It’s important that visually impaired people use these techniques to fully experience the world around them and not let their blindness hold them back.
Orientation and mobility skills are especially important for visually impaired adults and can be learned at any age
There is no specific age at which you must start learning these skills, and they can be learned at any age. Orientation and mobility (O&M) skills are important for all people who are visually impaired, but they are especially important for adults who have become blind later in life.
O&M skills can be learned through formal schooling or through self-study with the help of a sighted or visually impaired instructor. There are many different factors that go into learning how to navigate the world. Factors such as your environment, what kind of vision loss you have, and your lifestyle all play a part in how you navigate the world.
The O&M instructor will help you learn and practice the skills you need to navigate the world safely and confidently.
Visually-impaired people see with their ears and other senses.
Visually impaired people are capable of seeing shapes and images, but they can’t form a clear picture. People who are completely blind are unable to see any light, even if it’s bright as day.
Blind people can, however, see with their ears! They can use echolocation, also known as sonic visualization, to help them navigate their surroundings, just as bats do!
Visually impaired people have learned to use their other senses to their advantage. They have learned to use echolocation and other auditory skills to help them navigate the world around them.
Blindness can be isolating and challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right resources, support, and mindset, you can thrive in any situation, regardless of whether or not you can see.
These 7 interesting facts about blindness you might not know will hopefully be helpful as you learn to navigate the world with a visually impaired person.