Visual impairment is a term which covers a range of difficulties with vision and includes the following categories:
- Blind – Total blindness is the complete lack of form and visual light perception and is clinically recorded as NLP, an abbreviation for “no light perception”.
- Legally Blind – legal blindness is defined as visual acuity (vision) of 20/200 (6/60) or less in the better eye with best correction possible.
- Partially Sighted – is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces your ability to function at certain or all tasks.
- Low Vision – reduced vision, even when using the best possible corrective lenses. Low vision may be a result of either congenital disease or of an acquired condition.
- Cortically Visually Impaired – is a form of visual impairment that is caused by a brain problem rather than an eye problem.
You may have had limited or full loss of vision from birth, whereas others will have acquired a visual impairment during their life. Your sight problems are unique to you.
How does a visual impairment affect my disability?
The main effects of vision impairment are in the following areas:
- ability to see detail.
- width of visual field.
- contrast sensitivity and sensitivity to glare.
- seeing moving images and changing focus.
- colour vision.
- adaptation to changing light levels.
You may have a combination of the following:
- lack of independence.
- additional difficulties or disabilities.
- limited understanding of social situations due to missing out on non-verbal cues and modelling.
- a guide dog, or a cane.
- vulnerability in unfamiliar surroundings or situations.
Strategies to support learning for those who are visually impaired
Reading and texts:
- Inform your tutor that you may require extra time for reading tasks.
- Ensure that staff are aware of the font size you require so that they can ensure that handouts are produced in a suitable font and size.
- Communicate with your tutor to inform them if the materials are suitable to enable you to learn or how things need modifying to meet your needs.
- Request orientation so that you can familiarise yourself with the location and layout of key areas.
- Volunteer to speak to the class (if you are comfortable) about your disability so that they can understand things better.
- Introduce yourself to your peers so that you feel part of the group.
- If you are unable to understand the context of a conversation because they are using directional instructions such as over there, down there, like this, make sure you make people aware and ask them to clarify.
- Sit at the front of the class.
- Ask to tape tutorial sessions. Ask the tutor to inform you in advance if there are changes to the classroom so that you can re-orientate yourself with the new environment.
- Ensure that a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) is in place.
- You may be entitled to exam access arrangements.
Last updated: 16th August 2023