Visual Impairment

Visual impairment describes a range of visual restrictions which may be caused by difficulties within the eye, visual pathways or reception/understanding of the brain.

A visual impairment may be:

  • No sight at all
  • Difficulty seeing objects in the distance
  • Poor near vision
  • Difficulty seeing in the dark
  • Can only tell light and dark
  • Partial sight
  • Field loss (tunnel vision) – which means that peripheral vision at the edges is less clear
  • Loss of central vision
  • Difficulties with colour
  • Severe discomfort/visual loss in bright light

There are two legal categories in the UK used for registration purposes:

  1. Blind
    • visual acuity of less than 3 / 60 with a full visual field
    • visual acuity between 3 / 60 and 6 / 60 with a severe reduction of field of vision, such as tunnel vision
    • visual acuity of 6 / 60 or above but with a very reduced field of vision, especially if a lot of sight is missing in the lower part of the field
  2. Partially sighted
    • visual acuity of 3 / 60 to 6 / 60 with a full field of vision
    • visual acuity of up to 6 / 24 with a moderate reduction of field of vision or with a central part of vision that is cloudy or blurry
    • visual acuity of up to 6 / 18 if a large part of your field of vision, for example a whole half of your vision, is missing or a lot of your peripheral vision is missing.