What is visual impairment?

Hello everyone and welcome back to My Blurred World.

I hope you’re all doing really well.

Today I’m answering a question that I’ve received quite a few times since starting my blog. That question as you may have guessed from the title of this post is ‘what is visual impairment?’. You may be thinking that most people will know the answer to this question but something I’ve realised since joining the world of social media is that many don’t and this is the reason for me writing this post for you today.

I’d say that I’ve been asked this question mostly by the younger generation, although they might know what it means to some extent they still don’t know the full picture but I’m hoping I can portray that in today’s post.

I hope you enjoy today’s post and without further ado let’s begin.

There are many different eye conditions and diseases that cause visual impairments or blindness, as you can imagine every condition is very different and arguably someone living with the same condition might not experience similar symptoms to others living with that condition also.

I personally was diagnosed with a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of six and my vision has continued to deteriorate since then and has seemed to deteriorate rather dramatically during the course of the past few months. I can only comment on how this condition affects me personally, although thousands of people also suffer with RP the affects vary from person-to-person as I’m sure it does with any other eye condition.

So what is visual impairment? Well to cut a long story short it’s essentially when one’s eyes don’t work to the extent that they should but not all visual impairments are the same as we’ve already established. Someone who is visually impaired can be registered as partially sighted or blind/severely sight impaired but it’s not all black and white.

I think that many people believe that someone who is visually impaired is either partially sighted or completely blind and that there’s no in-between but what they don’t realise is that there is so much more to it than that.

When I was first diagnosed with RP I was registered as being partially sighted but since then I have been registered as blind/severely sight impaired but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely blind. When I tell someone that I’m registered blind they instantly assume that I can’t see a thing but that’s not the case, in fact 98% of those who are registered blind in the UK have some remaining form of vision. They might only have some light perception but that still counts as some form of vision. I wrote a post last year all about how I see the world so if you’re interested in reading that then you can do so by clicking here, this might help you to gain a better understanding of my vision and how I can still see some things despite the fact that I’m registered blind.

Some people who are registered blind/severely sight impaired are completely blind, some have some light perception and others might have some remaining vision but for some people this means that they’d have to stand 6 metres away from an object that a fully sighted person would see from 60 metres.

The best way I can describe my vision is that it’s like a camera that’s constantly out of focus but recently that focus has become even more blurry. I think a good way of describing visual impairment is to compare it with a camera, everyone is familiar with a camera, right? So I think when people have this image in their minds they might be able to see the connection. On a camera an image is created on a film or image sensor whereas in the eye the image is created on the retina. If the retina is damaged or diseased in some way it’s impossible for it to communicate with the brain which of course affects the vision.

It’s hard for me to explain all of this in a simple way, I know some of you might not want to know all the facts and figures but I think it’s important for everyone to learn these things.

I think the most important thing to remember in all of this is that visual impairment isn’t black and white, there are so many conditions, so many affects and so many different causes. There’s so many variations between partially sighted and blind and I’d like to emphasize on this point.

No sighted person will ever understand the full extent of someone’s visual impairment or blindness, it’s impossible but I do think it’s important for everyone to understand what it means.

Living with sight loss can affect people in so many different ways, some lose independence from it, some feel isolated, it’s frustrating because we can’t do the things that sighted people do such as driving. But it’s also important to note that it’s not all bad, it doesn’t deprive us from enjoying life. Us Blind/VI people can do everyday tasks such as cooking, doing our make-up etc as well as any sighted person would do – with a few adjustments of course – but we can do them and some people are shocked to learn that.

Someone who is blind/VI don’t constantly think about their vision loss, although it’s hard to live with sometimes, it’s not always isolating. We don’t constantly need the assistance of others but if we ask for it then please don’t hesitate to help but if we don’t ask for it then that’s ok because we can be independent.

So what is visual impairment? Well that’s something I hope you’ve gained a better understanding of in this post, I know it’s been quite long and might have been a little bit of a ramble but if you do take anything away from this post then please just remember that not everything is black and white, a visual impairment doesn’t stop anyone from living a happy and independent life and also it’s ok to ask questions as long as they don’t hurt us in any way.

A visual impairment may affect one’s sight but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have vision. I’m visually impaired but I’m happy with the person I am and although it gets me down sometimes I’d like to think that I have a positive outlook on life and so do many other blind/VI people. Living with sight loss isn’t all a negative experience, it’s what shapes some people in to the person that they are, I definitely believe that.

Have you learned something from today’s post? Let me know in the comments below.

Elin x

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9 thoughts on “What is visual impairment?

  1. This was super informative! I know about visual impairment but I didn’t know how different it could be for everyone and that it doesn’t necessarily mean someone can see absolutely nothing. Thanks for posting x

    Liked by 1 person

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