Quick Links

Visual Impairment

Definition

  • “Blindness” refers to a condition where a person suffers from any of the following conditions, namely Total absence of sight.
  • Visual acuity not exceeding 6/60 or 20/200(Snellen)in the better eye with correcting lenses.
  • Limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of 20 degree or worse.

  • Causes


    There are different causes for blindness like:
  • Malnutrition
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Other eye diseases

  • Characteristics


    Children with visual impairment make better use of other sensory avenues such as sound, touch etc. They use less of gestures, body movements. “Person with Low Vision” means a person with impairment of visual functioning even after treatment or standard refractive correction but who uses or is potentially capable of using vision for the planning or execution of a task with appropriate assistive device.

    Blindness can also result from damage to that part of the brain which interprets the nerve sensations sent from the eye. Good nutrition and vitamin supply is also very important.

    Types

    Depending on the visual acuity, classification is done. Here, we will be looking at the broad types.
  • Totally blind.
  • Person with low vision.


  • Treatment

    Management:
    The educational program will depend on whether the child is totally blind or with low vision.

    Training

    For the children who are blind from birth, appropriate educational services are needed from the age of two. An entire school programme has to be designed to suit their needs. They have to be educated by non-visual methods such as making more use of tactile (touch) methods, auditory and kinaesthetic modes. They are also taught Braille. It takes at least 6 months hard, concentrated study to learn Braille. They can be aided by reading substitutes, talking books and computers. The child with low vision can be aided by large print and magnifying glasses, close circuit T.V. and other aids.


    Mobility

    Every blind child should be taught how to become as mobile as possible. Sticks and canes are used as mobility aids. The child is taught 'Long Cane Technique'. In this a long cane is held out in front at 60" and moved from side to side just touching the ground. Long canes and sticks are painted white for easy identification of a blind person.


    Tips to Parents

    For a child with low vision, make use of magnifiers attached to specs, provide books in large print, use colourful charts, highlighters to explain key points. Text books can be Xeroxed in jumbo size to get enlarged print. Install a computer program which reads for the child. For a totally blind child provide ample opportunities where he can touch, hear and learn. As soon as possible, train him in Braille, give mobility training, play memory games, introduce a hobby e.g. singing, playing a musical instrument, sports.