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Simplified Information on Blindness

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To include Persons with Disabilities in our lives, we need to learn a bit about disabilities first. Here is some simple information on blindness to help you understand better.

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Simplified Information on Blindness

  1. 1. Blindness and Vision loss
  2. 2. • Blindness refers to a lack of vision. It may also refer to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. • Partial blindness means one has very limited vision. • Complete blindness means one cannot see anything and do not see light. (Most people who use the term "blindness" mean complete blindness.)
  3. 3. Interesting to Know: • Standard vision is measured as 20/20. A person is considered "visually impaired" if he/she can see no better than 20/70 with correction in his/her better eye. This means he/she can see at 20 feet what people with standard vision see at 70 feet. • A person is also considered “legally blind” he/she has limited peripheral vision and appears to be seeing things as if looking through a tube or straw. • A person is typically referred to as "totally blind" or "black blind" if he/she has no visible sight.
  4. 4. What Causes Blindness? • Medical conditions like Cataracts, Glaucoma, Trachoma, etc. • Age-related macular degeneration • Eye injuries • Severe periods of exhaustion or stress • Pregnancy related issues
  5. 5. The type of partial vision loss may differ, depending on the cause: • With cataracts, vision may be cloudy or fuzzy, and bright light may cause glare • With diabetes, vision may be blurred, there may be shadows or missing areas of vision, and difficulty seeing at night • With glaucoma, there may be tunnel vision and missing areas of vision • With macular degeneration, the side vision is normal but the central vision is slowly lost
  6. 6. Other causes of vision loss include: • Blocked blood vessels • Complications of premature birth (retrolental fibroplasia) • Complications of eye surgery • Lazy Eye • Optic neuritis • Stroke • Retinitis pigmentosa • Tumors such as retinoblastoma and optic glioma
  7. 7. Always Remember • Disability does not mean that a person stops living their life. • Persons who are blind can and do live fully functional lives. • Just as we use certain equipment to make our lives easier, certain aids and devices are used by persons with blindness or low vision to facilitate daily living.
  8. 8. MANAGING BLINDNESS • Many people with serious visual impairments can travel independently, using a wide range of tools and techniques. • They rely on Orientation and mobility specialists who are professionals specifically trained to teach people with visual impairments how to travel safely, confidently, and independently in the home and the community. • Becoming familiar with an environment or route can make it much easier for a blind person to navigate successfully.
  9. 9. WHITE CANE • Tools such as the WHITE CANE with a red tip – also the INTERNATIONAL SYMBOL of blindness is used to improve mobility.
  10. 10. GUIDE DOGS • A small number of people employ Guide Dogs to assist in mobility. • These dogs are trained to navigate around various obstacles, and to indicate when it becomes necessary to go up or down a step.
  11. 11. • TACTILE PAVING and AUDIBLE TRAFFIC SIGNALS can make it easier and safer for visually impaired pedestrians to cross streets.
  12. 12. READING AND MAGNIFICATION • Most visually impaired people who are not totally blind, read print, either of a regular size or enlarged by magnification devices. Many also read LARGE–PRINT which is easier for them to read without such devices. A variety of MAGNIFYING GLASSES some handheld, and some on desktops, can make reading easier for them too.
  13. 13. • Others read BRAILLE or rely on TALKING BOOKS and READERS or READING MACHINES which convert printed text to speech or Braille. They use computers with special hardware such as SCANNERS and REFRESHABLE BRAILLE DISPLAYS and SCREEN READERS
  14. 14. BRAILLE IS a tactile writing system, traditionally written with embossed paper. Braille-users can read computer screens and other electronic supports thanks to Refreshable Braille Displays. WHAT IS BRAILLE ? Writing Reading
  15. 15. Other aids Blind people may use TALKING equipments such as Thermometers Watches, Clocks, Scales, Calculators and Compasses. They may also enlarge or mark dials on devices such as ovens and thermostats to make them usable.
  16. 16. The JAWS software : Job Access With Speech JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows people who are blind or Low Vision to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille Display.
  17. 17. Low Vision Optical Devices Low vision optical devices, such as magnifying reading glasses, magnifiers, and small telescopes, are tools that help those with vision loss maximize their remaining vision.
  18. 18. Some Useful Tips when Communicating with Persons who are Blind or have low vision • Persons with visual impairment mainly experience the world through hearing and touch. Thus it is important to use auditory cues when communicating with a person who is blind. For instance, when meeting, introduce yourself and say something like “shall we shake hands” instead of simply taking the person’s hand and shaking it. • Announce your arrival or departure so that you do not take the person by surprise.
  19. 19. Some Basic Rules of Etiquette to Keep in Mind • When offering assistance, ask the person directly what you need to do. As a rule, allow the person to take your arm. You should guide rather than propel the person. Advise on steps or other obstacles as they occur. • Point out to the direction of any object using the analogy of a clock, such as, “the chair is to your three o’ clock”.
  20. 20. What is Deaf-Blindness Sometimes people have multiple disabilities. Deaf-blindness is such a condition where the person has little or no useful sight and little or no useful hearing.
  21. 21. How do persons who are Deaf-Blind communicate? Deaf-Blind people communicate in many different ways determined by the nature of their condition, the age of onset, and what resources are available to them. For example, someone who grew up deaf and experienced vision loss later in life is likely to use a sign language (in a visually modified or tactile form). Others who grew up blind and later became deaf are more likely to use a tactile mode of their spoken/written language.

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