Being blind does not mean a person is living in total darkness. The majority of blind and partially sighted people have some useable sight with just 4 per cent having no light perception. Many blind people and the majority of partially sighted people can recognise a friend at arm’s length.
90 per cent of people living with sight loss in the UK are over 60. In addition, blind and partially sighted people of all age groups can have a combination of disabilities such as arthritis, hearing loss and issues around memory loss. However, older people are more likely to experience this.
Some people may have more than one condition or different severities. The following pictures will give you some idea of what people may see but it is important to remember that people will be affected by eye conditions in different ways: some will have no central vision or no vision to the sides; others may see a patchwork of blank and defined areas, or everything may be seen as a vague blur. Some may have difficulty seeing but might not describe themselves as partially sighted.
Helen needs to purchase a train ticket but the station booking office is closed. This is how Helen might see a ticket vending machine with the following eye conditions:
- Glaucoma can result in tunnel vision, where all side vision is lost and only central vision remains
- Diabetic retinopathy can cause blurred or patchy vision
- Macular degeneration can lead to a loss of central vision whilst side vision remains