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Sensory Impairment

Visual Impairment

What is a Visual impairment?

People with visual impairments are sometimes known as blind or partially sighted. The more modern term is sight impaired or severely sight impaired. Sight loss can be caused by a variety of conditions such as –

  • macular degeneration
  • glaucoma
  • diabetes
  • cataracts
  • visual cortex disorder
  • genetic defects or an injury

Many people who live with sight impairment experience different levels of sight loss. Some people are only able to determine lights or shapes, while others may experience blurred vision. Another effect of sight impairment is having no sight in the centre of the eye or no side vision.

Some people may have some useful sight but may find it difficult at night. It is uncommon for someone to have no vision at all even if the person is registered blind.

Eye strain and headaches are also a common side effect of living with sight impairment.

Find out more about blindness and sight loss here (Opens in a new window)


First Steps to Getting Sight Loss

Getting an eye test

It is estimated that 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided. One simple thing you can do is get an eye test. In some cases your sight could be improved simply by different glasses or cataract surgery.

If you feel you are having problems with your sight you should go to your GP or optician as soon as possible. You may be referred to an eye clinic or ophthalmologist (a specialist in eyes). They examine your eyes and determine if there are any possible treatments for your condition.

Registering as disabled

If you have sight loss, you may be able to register as disabled. You will need to see an ophthalmologist for an assessment and they will then issue you with a Certificate of Vision Impairment.

More information on Registering as disabled (Opens in a new window)

Living with sight impairment can make life more complex, however, you can get support from various national and local organisations. You could also get equipment to meet your visual needs.

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