How to go shopping if you’re blind or visually impaired

If you live alone or try to be more independent, one of your most common purchases will be shopping. While some small local stores continue to receive and deliver telephone orders, these grocery stores are quickly being replaced by large supermarkets from national chains such as Safeway and Kroger. Fortunately, the delivery of groceries still exists. With Web and mobile technology, it’s even possible to shop for meat, fruits, vegetables, and produce from the comfort of your own home.

Shopping online

Many supermarkets are starting to offer at least some online food ordering options. Some networks, such as Safeway, combine online ordering with delivery and usually require a minimum purchase and payment of a small shipping fee. Others, like Kroger, allow you to order groceries online, but you have to pick them up. Sure, this can help you shop on your own as well, as you don’t need to arrange for a shopper to walk you through the store’s various aisles in search of your grocery list items. You can have the whole list packed and wait and collect the order by yourself.

Even if you need a friend or personal assistant to make the pickup, you’ll be saving time by ordering online. Also, you are much more likely to find those delicious new grocery items you didn’t know were available because a shopping companion cannot read the names of every can and box on every store shelf.

Walmart is also diving into the online shopping game. The company is currently conducting pilot projects to sell and supply groceries in San Diego and Denver, though it is unknown when or how soon the service will roll out nationwide. The shopping site is quite accessible and the “Accessibility” link offers special hotkeys for easy navigation. Check the website for local availability or call 800-924-9206.

Online shopping is a rapidly evolving business model. Stores that don’t currently offer it could start operating in a few months. Others currently requiring pickup may offer delivery soon. Even supermarkets that offer these services in large conurbations may not offer the same level of service in shops in small towns. It’s best to call your favorite store or search for online grocery stores in your city.

Unfortunately, your local supermarket’s website may not be 100 percent accessible. There might be untagged photos of your products, hard-to-spot checkout buttons, or other complications, but with a little effort you can usually find your way. Another option is to locate and download the store’s mobile app. Most supermarket chains offer mobile applications that will run on a Google Android or Apple smartphone. Visit the iOS App Store or Google Play and search for your favorite grocer’s name.

Whether you’re using the internet or an app, you’ll likely be asked to create an account before you can order groceries. Membership has its privileges. You will likely find a list of weekly specials, or member’s only deals you can add to your shopping list, which you can create and edit from a searchable list of the store’s entire inventory.

More shopping delivery options

If your local grocery stores don’t offer online orders and deliveries, you’re out of luck. Below are some other options that can be shipped nationwide or that can be delivered to your area.


This national chain brings a selection of around 400 frozen foods, including meals, desserts and diet products, directly to your door. While not perfect, the Schwan website and mobile apps for iOS and Android are reasonably accessible. You can also place orders over the phone at 888-724-9267

Omaha steaks

This well-known mail-order seller of steaks, burgers and other meat products offers frequent promotions on gift and combo sets. They also offer a selection of chicken and seafood products. Their website is mostly accessible.

Abe market

Go here if you prefer natural and organic foods and beauty products. They are shipped by post, so there are no products available in the fridge or freezer. Their website is generally accessible, an untagged product image appears from time to time.

There are too many other online food retailers to list here. Suffice it to say, these days, if you need an obscure food item or ingredient in a recipe, you can find it online and ship it home. Simply enter the name of the product you seek into your browser’s search bar and you will likely find multiple sellers. Of course, nowadays the search list above will probably lead you to Amazon, the internet behemoth, to which we will devote the entire next section of this guide.

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

Un barattolo di salviette Clorox e un bastone da passeggio composto con il testo "COVID-19 e cecità: come stare al sicuro e aiutare"

Blindness and vision impairment aren’t on the list officially of at-risk factors when it comes to COVID-19. But as people with disabilities, we should be prepared, proactive and behave as they are on the list, considering how much we use our sense of touch. If you aren’t disabled, we also have plenty of ways you can help the blind and visually impaired during these uncertain times.

Blind / blind

COVID-19 and blindness: As visually impaired and blind, we use touch much more than the average person. Whether it’s using a sighted guide, carrying a cane/using a guide dog, or touching tactile signs and braille, we rely on activities that aren’t exactly conducive to social distancing. What can we do during a pandemic to make sure we are safe and sound?

Clean the harness from the guide / stick dog

If you are still walking out of the house and using a guide dog or cane, be sure to scrub your guide dog or cane harness with a Clorox handkerchief or some good old-fashioned soap and water. Be especially careful and wash your hands immediately afterwards if you need to use Braille now.

Take advantage of delivery services

The best thing we can do right now is to stay home, especially if you’re in the blind or high-risk community. But what about food? Anxiety? Blind and visually impaired communities are no strangers to food delivery, but that’s just one more reason to use them! Instacart is a great option as is Whole Foods delivery on Amazon. CVS also offers drug delivery.

Driving restrictions Public Transport, Uber / Lyft, Paratransit If possible

The CDC recommends limiting time as much as possible in crowded places such as public transportation. With so many people using public transit, driving them can be a huge risk when it comes to COVID-19, especially when you consider the tactile factor. If you can, go wherever you want, or ask a trusted person (with whom you can distance yourself socially) to take you wherever you want.

Likewise, using carpooling services can be just as dangerous when it comes to coming into contact with a person who may be infected. During this time, it’s best to avoid rideshare apps to be on the safe side.

Follow the guidelines of the CDC

The CDC has some great tips, but some general tips that can help you stay safe include:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Put used wipes in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Practice social distance by avoiding large gatherings and keeping a distance (about 6 feet or 2 meters) from others if possible.

ZoomText and JAWS offered for free

If you’re having trouble graduating at work or at home, Freedom Scientific is offering ZoomText and JAWS for free until June 30, 2020. This is a great resource if you don’t have assistive technology with you.

What you can do to help blind / visually impaired people with COVID-19:

Blind and visually impaired people are a particularly vulnerable population not only to COVID-19, but also to the isolation associated with it. Many blind and visually impaired people feel isolated before the pandemic. It is more important than ever to monitor your disabled friends who may be feeling isolated and lonely. The effects of COVID-19 and blindness can be harmful to people with disabilities. Here are some ideas on how you can help:

Become a Be My Eyes volunteer

Be My Eyes is one of our favorite apps and is always looking for new volunteers, especially right now! Be My Eyes is a free app where a sighted volunteer connects with a blind / blind person to help with anything from reading the label on the can, identifying the color of the shirt, to anything so he may need help.

Check out what’s happening with friends with disabilities, chronic illnesses and the elderly

Questa pandemia potrebbe avere conseguenze dannose per gli anziani, i disabili e i malati cronici a causa dell’isolamento sociale. Many older people don’t have the technology to use delivery apps, FaceTime with friends, etc. At this time, it’s even more important to stay in touch with those who may be feeling even more isolated right now. The simplest thing you can do is to call them quickly. And if you can, offer food delivery or whatever else they might need.

Delivery with invisible hands or Instacart

Invisible Hands only covers New York and New Jersey, but it’s a great asset if you’re in these areas. Invisible Hands is a free delivery service where isolated and disabled people can request free shopping. A volunteer will deliver them to your doorstep.

Instacart and Shipt are also great shipping services and you can buy them and have them delivered to you, earning a few extra bucks!

You can also offer grocery pickup to anyone you know who may be isolated.

Donate blood

There is a shortage of blood donations across the country, so donate if you can! The Red Cross is looking for all blood groups. If you are fit and healthy, this is a simple thing you can do to help those in need.

Make a donation to organizations

If you have the financial capacity, donating is a great way to help during this time as many organizations that serve people in need have problems. World Blind Services remains open and we are always looking for donations through our support website through direct financial giving or by purchasing something from our wish list that can help students who are on our campus and need help.

As mentioned above, it’s hard to search for any consumer product these days without finding the Amazon link at the top of the search results. One of the reasons for this state of affairs is that, along with Amazon’s own inventory of products, they also allow other merchants to sell their goods, new and used, through the Amazon website, so in effect you are shopping the selection of tens of thousands of large and small online merchants.

Amazon’s website is quite accessible, but the company has also made significant efforts to make shopping less daunting for screen reader users. Whenever you log into the main website while using a screen reader, you will see the following message:

We recently updated the screen reader-optimized website to include headlines, landmarks, and new shopping features to enhance your experience. Please click this link or go to www. Amazon. com / login.

Amazon’s standard website can be quite messy. It’s easy to get lost amid all the extra links touting products similar to the one you searched for, products purchased by people who also purchased the product you searched for, and additional products Amazon thinks you might wish to buy, judging from your search and purchase history. The accessible platform cleans up a lot of this mess. It also makes it quite easy to navigate and find the links and controls you want using your screen reader’s special keyboard commands, such as Find Next Heading, Next Button, Next List, and Next List Item. See your screen reader documentation for a list of these useful keyboard commands.

Amazon app

You can search and buy on Amazon using a desktop browser or a browser installed on a mobile device (usually Chrome or Firefox for Android devices and Safari for Apple iOS). But at the top of each product page, you will see a link: “View in Amazon app”. Amazon offers apps for both Android and iOS.

These apps are not compatible with screen readers such as the website available. There are a few places where the swipe command doesn’t work and you’ll need to use Explore by Touch to find a button or other control. However, there are a couple of reasons why you might prefer to buy from one of Amazon’s mobile apps:

  • Each mobile application includes a voice search option. Call up this option and the app will listen as you say the name of the product you are looking for and when you are done it will automatically start the search and then display the results.
  • The app offers one-touch access to Amazon’s shopping cart, wishlists and order history.
  • You can set up shipping alerts and receive text messages once your order has shipped, arrives at the local courier, and shortly after your order has been delivered to your door.
  • If there is a problem with your order or you have a question, the Contact link will take you directly to the email link, or you can ask Amazon for a phone call. Callbacks almost always come within seconds.

Amazon Fire tablet

Amazon really wants you to shop with them, designs the Amazon Fire tablet line, with extensive integration with Amazon stores and other services. We mentioned Fire tablets in the reading guide and entertainment guide.

Amazon Fire tablet korzystają z nieco zmodyfikowanej wersji systemu operacyjnego Android i są udostępniane głosowo za pomocą zmodyfikowanej wersji Talkback. We looked at the Amazon Fire extensively in the March 2014 release. AccessWorld.

Sign up and sign up

If you regularly buy a product like multivitamins, pet food, or laundry detergent, Amazon can automatically ship that product every month, two months, or any other length of time. Prices on Sign up and sign up items are usually slightly discounted. Sign up and sign up is an excellent way to purchase shelf-stable grocery items, such as canned vegetables and cooking oil. You will receive an email a few days before each order is shipped with a “Skip this delivery” link in case you still have a lot of stock left. You can sign up for special offer emails, and best of all, these groceries will arrive right at your door – a real treat if your local grocery store still isn’t delivering.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a subscription service that currently costs $ 99 per year, with a 30-day free trial. Students can get a six-month free trial.

The feature of the awning on Amazon prime is that for millions of products you will receive free shipping in two days. Overnight shipping costs an additional $ 4.99. If you become a regular Amazon customer, your Prime membership will pay for itself in the form of taxi fares and savings for purchase assistants.

Prime members also have access to Amazon Instant Video (see the Entertainment Guide for more information) and the extensive Kindle loan library for Prime members (see the Reading Guide for more information on Kindle books).

25 August 2016

I recently came across an article about Braille labels added to beer bottles in Japan. One of the most frequently asked questions arose: How do blind or visually impaired people distinguish between everyday things when they cannot see? Since most things only have printed labels, we need to find more tips and tricks to keep them organized. The labeling and organization methods are endless and these are just a few tips to get you started.

Keep order

Very often, I can tell different things just by organizing them in different places. Of course, first I find out what I am when I go shopping. For example, I know that one pantry shelf has boxes of cereal and the other has crackers, canned food, etc. The shape and size of the various packages also help – a can of soup is very different from a condiment bottle. Simple things like listening to the sounds of each product are also helpful. Shaking a box of raw pasta sounds completely different than a box of cereal bars.

Labeling with easy-to-find household items

There are times when I inevitably have to label things that look or feel identical. It often helps to use things like duct tape, rubber bands, paper clips, or safety pins. Food cans are often identical and I have to label them as soon as I know what they are. By putting a rubber band around a can of soup, I distinguish it from a can of vegetables. Using rubber bands on medicine bottles is also very helpful in organizing them. Attaching safety pins to labels helps me understand what color it is. This post gives more information about organizing and matching clothes as someone who can’t see.

Use Braille or large printed labels

The labeling of important documents, CDs, DVDs etc. can be done with Braille and large printed labels. The Chicago Lighthouse’s Tools for Living Store sells a variety of labeling materials ranging from special Braille labeling paper to large print stickers. In general, I like to describe things like folders, binders, CD and DVD cases in Braille. There are also other products for those who cannot read Braille. Embossed dot touch stickers, also sold by Tools for Living, are a great option for microwave ovens, ovens, computer keyboards, and other electronic devices. They are sold in a variety of colors and sizes.

Assistive technology devices

There are many “high-tech” devices that can help people with vision loss label things and stay organized. Talking RX Pill Bottle Recorder is a great drug labeling tool. Other devices, such as the PenFriend voice tag system, can be a good alternative for organizing your collection of CDs and DVDs, medications, important documents, and so on. Similar aids and applications for smartphones are in constant development.

You can see these and other products offered in the shop here. For more tips on marking and organizing household items as visually impaired, visit this American Foundation for the Blind website. What other marking methods have proved useful as a blind or visually impaired? Share all the tips with our readers!

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

A good vision is a precious gift that is easy to take for granted.

Imagine for a moment what life would be like if your vision were permanently impaired and could not be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or eye surgery. This is a situation where there are many people who suffer from what is known as “poor eyesight” on a daily basis.

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

There are many ways to help someone with vision loss. You can take them shopping, do home renovations, or just go out and become friends.

Altri termini spesso usati per descrivere le persone con disabilità visive includono "non vedenti", "non vedenti" e "legalmente non vedenti".

Causes of poor vision include hereditary diseases, eye injuries, and eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Regardless of background, poor vision often causes depression and a sense of isolation and helplessness.

How can you help

If you have a friend or family member who is visually impaired, or know other people in your community who are visually impaired, here are some ways you can help them remain independent and make the most of their residual vision:

Help them learn about aids for the blind.Special optical devices called low vision aids often allow people to use their remaining vision more efficiently and do things they thought were no longer possible.

These devices include custom magnifying glasses for reading and other nearby activities, computerized speech synthesis devices, and handheld or eyepiece-mounted telescopes for viewing objects from a distance. Many of them are covered by health insurance.

You can help by making an appointment with an eye doctor to find out which optical aids will benefit you the most. (If the doctor does not usually work with a visually impaired person, he may recommend a visually impaired specialist in the area.)

A low vision test differs from a regular eye test and usually includes follow-up visits to help people with visual impairments use prescribed visual aids effectively.

The doctor may also suggest non-optical aids to help a visually impaired person enjoy life more fully. Examples include audio books, large print books, and other large print items such as playing cards, watches, telephones, and bunkers.

Vision problems news

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

The most common problems for people with visual impairments

According to the research, reading problems are the most frequently reported problem for people with low vision, regardless of the cause of their blindness.

The Low Vision Rehabilitation Outcomes Study enrolled 819 patients seeking low vision services at 28 clinical centers in the United States. Prior to the visit, the new patients were asked, “What are your main complaints about your vision?”

The most common complaint was reading difficulty, reported by 66.4% of patients. Other functional difficulties included driving (27.8%), use of magnifying glasses and other visual aids (17.5%), mobility (16.3%), performing normal activities at home (15.1%) ), problems with lighting and glare (11.7%) and problems with the face, recognition and social involvement (10.3%).

The likelihood of reading difficulty increased slightly with age, but did not differ significantly with changes in visual acuity. Women were more likely to report difficulties with household activities, facial recognition, and social interaction, while men were more likely to report difficulties with driving and difficulties with lighting. Mobility problems, defined as difficulty walking and activities outside the home, were not related to gender, age or visual acuity.

The study authors concluded that since reading difficulties were the most common complaint, rehabilitation of reading should be the cornerstone of care for the blind. — G. H.

Give them a hand and light up their lives.A few simple changes to a visually impaired person’s accommodation can improve visibility and reduce the risk of falls:

Make sure their home is well lit with high-powered incandescent bulbs and additional lamps or activity lighting. Kitchen, bathroom and work rooms should be fully and uniformly illuminated.

Remove unnecessary clutter around the house. Offer help with organizing important items and packing others.

Make a list of important phone numbers in large print on paper with bold lines. Include doctors, transportation, and emergency contacts, and put the list in a convenient place.

Segna le scale o i pendii con del nastro adesivo. Eye-catching colors that contrast with the floor work best.

Offer to buy a large screen TV that displays high contrast images.

Vision problems news

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

Do you want to “be my eyes”? This application helps a blind person to see

Be My Eyes is an app that connects blind people with sighted assistants to solve quick problems like reading food labels or expiration dates or navigating the street.

Using smartphones, the blind person shows the scene to the sighted assistant, thanks to which both can work together to solve the problem that the blind person is currently struggling with.

Danish furniture craftsman Hans Jorgen Wiberg, who started losing his sight at the age of 25, came up with the idea for Be My Eyes.

You can try the app by downloading it from the iTunes Store. — L. S.

Be a shopping buddy. Leaving the house can help lift the spirits of a visually impaired person. If their eyesight isn’t good enough to drive a car, offer them to take them grocery shopping once a week.

Make a grocery list in advance and help them find items on store shelves. Encourage them to shop for themselves, but stay close to help if needed.

Travel tips. Help the blind person learn about all available transportation services, including those provided by local churches and community groups. Incoraggiateli a fare domande e a parlare se viaggiano da soli e hanno bisogno di aiuto.

When walking with a visually impaired person, try to take a few steps forward at a slower pace than usual. This way, a person can predict the terrain based on your clues. Let them know of steps, curbs, and other potential problems you are approaching that may be difficult to spot.

Learn as much as possible about the specific vision problems they have. For example, people with advanced glaucoma usually have difficulty seeing sideways. Knowing this will help you anticipate mobility problems when both of you are out and about.

Notes and references

Characteristics of functional disorders in patients seeking outpatient services for the blind in the United States.Ophthalmology. August 2014.

When it comes to shopping, blind or visually impaired people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Using some alternative tips and techniques, we can easily and confidently shop for ourselves. This post provides a general overview of how a blind or visually impaired person performs this task. I will also list some tips for people with visual impairments that can make shopping a pleasant experience!

Shopping with a friend or family member

Having a store associated with you can be of great help, especially if they know your preferences. For example, when shopping for clothes, it can be helpful to have a general idea of ​​your color and style preferences. Of course, the person’s companion is not there to decide what the individual who is blind or visually impaired needs, but rather to assist them in picking out the items. For example, if a person only needs a few basic things, they can ask a friend, neighbor, etc. to collect the items.

Ask for a salesperson

The second alternative is to ask for help with purchases. It could be someone who works in the store, such as a salesperson, or, in some department stores, a personal customer. While in larger stores people can ask for help with shopping at the entrance, other smaller stores ask people to call ahead to let them know when they need help. It’s always a good idea to check with your local store beforehand. If both the store staff and the person know each other, that person may be able to call ahead and give the store a shopping list.

Create a shopping list

Whether shopping with a friend or soliciting assistance from the store, it’s always a good idea to make and bring a list of the things you want or need. This way, both you and the assistant will find the objects much easier. It’s also a good idea to organize the list and group items specific to each department – list all of the produce, paper products, toiletries, etc. together. There’s no need to repeatedly be scurrying up and down the aisles trying to find the things you missed! If there’s a specific brand you need, it can also help to note this on the list.

Online shopping

The Internet allows everyone to shop from the comfort of their own home. It can be a convenient alternative for the blind or visually impaired. Thanks to the availability of a computer, people with visual impairments can now surf the web on their own. People can now shop for anything online, from clothing to groceries. If a person knows exactly what she wants, she can easily search for and purchase products. The items will be on their way to the person’s home and at their doorstep in no time!

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

The pandemic has imposed many changes and restrictions on Americans. It has created a “new normal” for many people. But some people who already had limitations face even greater limitations due to the pandemic.

Many people with vision problems spent a lot of time at home before the pandemic. They are now even more comfortable and difficult to adapt to as they rely heavily on touch to navigate their surroundings.

Molly Pasley, an associate professor at Northern Ilinois University, hosted an open virtual home at the Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired so the community could reconnect with each other and form groups of friends for social support. Pasley said nearly 20 people attended the meeting. She said the community feedback exceeded their expectations.

“We just answered that call knowing we were trying to get things done and be actively involved, we got a lot of great feedback from customers saying they were interested and they even joined the chat,” said Pasley, who works with the company. school. blind community children.

Like all other children, she said, they had to adapt to the end of family lessons. Pasley said students want structure and stability to help them compensate for poor eyesight and progress successfully through the school day.

“First period, you go to this class, second period you go to this class, and then it goes to, ‘Okay, well how am I going to manage all this? I don’t have someone sitting over me telling me how to do stuff, when to do it, and how to do it and having to work on self-management,’” Pasley said. “For younger kids, that’s a real challenge, too.”

Some students, along with other visually impaired people, have problems with their equipment and Internet access to participate in virtual meetings and with schoolwork. Pasley said the schools were able to provide students with hotspots and other facilities.

Kim Tarkowski, a spokesperson for vision access at the Bloomington Independent Living Center, said Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Vidly lent people equipment such as wheelchairs, canes, crutches, toilet seats, and walkers. Gather. Tarkowski, who has been blind for more than 40 years, said the demand for the equipment varies from person to person. Some may need the technology, some may navigate on their own, and some have human support.

“I’m pretty independent and I have a lot of different kinds of technology that will assist me in terms of doing things,” Tarkowski said. “My computer has a screen reader so I can log into my computer and do my work and get phone numbers from different people I need to call. Not everyone has access to it. Not everyone has to access it. [For] some people, just using a magnifying glass, if they have vision problems, helps.

Facemasks, gloves, and other PPE equipment that’s required when going out in places with 10 or more people have become the new dress code for Americans. The blind community must wear them, especially with human guidance when social distancing is unlikely. Pasley said being visually impaired doesn’t put them in the high-risk group, but it’s more to do with their age and underlying health conditions like everyone else.

Wearing gloves can potentially prevent them from using other senses, such as reading Braille. However, Tarkowski said she’s had little to no issues with wearing gloves, so she doesn’t see it causing problems for people with low vision.

“There might be some things that the gloves might be interfering with the feel,” Tarkowski said. “Maybe picking up a dime or a piece of paper or something like that would be difficult, but as far as being guided, that wouldn’t be an issue.”

Visually impaired people over the age of 50 are more concerned about food, especially those living in rural areas. Illinois State Center for Blind and Blind People director Cora Quinn said people who live alone have a harder time finding food. She said that she caters to several food banks that provide delivery services.

“They bring us things from the food bank and we get them once a month,” Quinn said. “They have a person from the center call us and if we want anything, they’ll help us get it if we tell them we need help.”

Quinn said the center hasn’t received funding for the services, but are relying on donations from the public to provide aid to the community since fundraisers have been canceled. Tarkowski said the Life Center has received funds from the CARES bill to provide food, sanitation, hygiene products, and rent for customers in need.

Others with low or low vision still need to travel to important businesses like a doctor and dentist and use public transportation, but navigating public places remotely can be a challenge, especially if there is no guide. Guide dogs, widely used by the blind community, are not suited to social distancing. Quinn said people may need help from shop workers or others, even when crossing the street.

Tarkowski said the benefit of social distancing is that it’s easier to spot someone who is visually impaired and needs help.

Tarkowski said audiences can help by verbally indicating their surroundings during social distancing.

"Qualcuno potrebbe aver bisogno di dire," mi dispiace, non so se sei consapevole [ma] sei abbastanza vicino" in termini di distanziamento sociale e di farlo in un modo carino.

Despite the hurdles, Tarkowski said, transitioning into blind community life during a pandemic is not much different from adapting everyone else.

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be there for you, keeping you up to date with the current, local and reliable news you need. Help ensure WGLT is able to continue thorough and comprehensive coverage of COVID-19 as the situation develops.

A look at the difference between what makes a person blind or blind

A question people ask often is, “What’s the difference between someone who is blind and someone who is visually impaired?” So today I sat down with our new intern, Katie, to ask her a few questions about the difference between visual impairment and blindness. She told me we should start with a definition of both first.

What is the difference between visual impairment and blindness?

The definition of visual impairment is “a reduction in the ability to see to some extent that causes problems that cannot be corrected by normal means such as glasses”. Blindness is “a state of blindness due to an injury, disease or genetic condition”.

In the United States, there are four terms that describe different levels of visual impairment and blindness: low vision, low vision, legally blind, and completely blind.

Visually impaired means that the person has partial vision in one or both eyes.

Poor vision refers to severe visual impairment in which visual acuity is 20/70 or worse in the best seeing eye and cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

How to go shopping if you're blind or visually impaired

Legally blind means that the person has 20/200 improved vision in the best seeing eye. If visual aids such as glasses can correct a person’s vision to 20/20, they are not considered legally blind.

Completely blind refers to complete blindness.

While the phrase “visual acuity” may sound new to you, Katie explained that this is something most of us are familiar with. It is a measure determined by the letter diagram tests we perform when we check our eyes; the number represents your eyes’ clarity or sharpness. For example, a person with a 20/70 visual acuity measurement who is 20 feet from the eye map sees what a person with 20/20 vision can see from 70 feet away.

Can a completely blind person with their eyes open see as a person seeing with their eyes closed?
Most people who are born blind claim that they cannot see anything. But people who had vision before going blind say they usually see black and sometimes faded shapes, flashes of light or color, and experience vivid hallucinations.

How far can visually impaired people see?

It depends on the type of visual impairment a person lives with. For Katie and probably many others, objects are only visible from a distance – that distance can be as close as in front of the eye, or even 20 feet away. From a distance, subjects may appear blurry or pale. Some people may also see in tunnel vision, which means a loss of peripheral vision. Visual impairment can improve with glasses or other types of adaptive technology, such as CyberEyez.

Can blind or partially sighted people continue to lead normal lives?

Absolutely! Many blind and visually impaired people adapt to their disability. Being visually impaired or blind doesn’t mean they can’t live normal lives just like anyone else. They work, go to the movies, discover new parts of the city and even win national talent contests.

Being blind or visually impaired isn’t about what they can or cannot do. It’s about learning the best way to accomplish whatever goals they set out to achieve.

Categorized as IT