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Vision impairments result from conditions that range from the presence of some usable vision, low vision, to the absence of any vision, total blindness.

Low vision is a term that describes a person with a vision impairment that cannot be improved by correction but has some usable vision remaining. Legal blindness is defined as 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction. Errors of refraction, diseases of the eye, and other vision-related conditions are usually the cause of vision loss. Each of these categories includes more specific disorders, which are described below.

RPD ACT 2016


As part of our series about the 21 disabilities covered by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016 has included ‘ Low-vision’.

low vision.jpg

The disability caused due to vision impairments is called Low-vision. These may include conditions such as partial sight, partial blindness or even poor vision.

What is Low Vision

As per legal terms, low vision means a person with impairment of vision of less than 6/18 to 6/60 with best correction in the better eye or impairment of field in any one of the following categories:

  • Reduction of fields less than 50 degrees

  • Heminaopia with macular involvement

  • Altitudinal defect involving lower fields


In simpler terms, in case of Low Vision the eyesight is not normal and the person is not able to see clearly even after treatment or with the use of aids like glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery.

To measure the vision ‘Visual Acuity' is measured. It is a number that indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision.


  • Myopia (Nearsightedness): Close objects look clear while distant objects appear blurred.

  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness): The ability to see objects clearly at a distance while close objects appear blurry.

  • Astigmatism: Due to the irregular curvature of the cornea, vision is blurry for both near and far objects.

  • Presbyopia: The eye lens becomes less elastic (associated with aging) and produces blurred vision when focusing on near objects.


  • Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s lens that causes l oss of vision.

  • Glaucoma: Pressure inside the eye is elevated and can cause damage to the optic nerve, which results in damage to peripheral vision.

  • Macular Degeneration: There is a disturbance of blood vessels in the eye resulting in progressive loss of central vision.

  • Retinitis Pigmentosa: There is a degeneration of pigment in the eye that is needed to absorb light and create visual images, leading to “tunnel vision” and night blindness.

  • Retinopathy (due to Diabetes): Retinopathy typically affects the blood circulation of the retina, which causes blotchy vision.


  • Night Blindness: Night blindness results from pigmentary degeneration of the retina, which leads to difficulty seeing in low light.

  • Color Vision Deficiency: A color vision deficiency occurs when cone cells of the retina, which provide daylight and color vision, are affected and there is difficulty distinguishing among colors. Typically this only involves certain hues, for example a red–green deficiency; total color blindness (achromatic vision) is rare.

  • Lack of Depth Perception: A lack of depth perception is often caused by the loss of sight in one eye, resulting in difficulty with foreground/background discrimination.

  • Floaters: Floaters are small specks or clouds moving in the field of vision.


People with low vision may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.


  1. What limitations is the student experiencing?

  2. How do these limitations affect the student performance?

  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?

  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?

  5. Has the student been consulted regarding possible accommodations?

  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the student to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?

  7. Do teachers and personnel need training?


By Limitation of: Blind - Total

1. Blind
  • Accessible Mobile Phones

  • Accessible Telephones

  • Apps for Individuals with Vision Impairment

  •  External Computer Screen Magnification

  • Head-mounted Magnifiers

  • High Visibility Floor Tape and Paint

  • Large Button Phones

  • Large Visual Display for Telephone

  • Lighted Reading Glasses

  • Low Vision Office Supplies

  • Magnification (Hand or Stand)

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Systems - Scan

  • Portable Video/Electronic Magnifiers

  • Screen Magnification and Screen Reading Combined

  • Screen Magnification Software

  • ​Sewing Aids for Individuals with Vision Impairment

  • Stair Tread/Textured Tape

  • Tactile Timepieces/Watches

  • Talking Alarm Clocks

  • Talking Bar Code Scanner/Reader

  • Talking Blood Glucose Monitors

  • Talking Blood Pressure Monitors

  • Talking Cash Register

  • Talking Coin Counter/Sorter

  • Talking Color Detector

  • Talking Copies

  • Talking Credit Card Terminal

  • Talking Money Identifier

  • Talking Scales

  • Talking Telephones

  • Talking Watches

By Class Work Related Function
2. Work


  • Flexible Schedule

  •  Ridesharing/Carpooling

  •  Telework, Work from Home, Working Remotely

  •  Transportation Assistance

  •  Van Conversion

  •  Walkers

Situations and Solutions

A student in electrical engineering with low vision had difficulty reading visual notifications, both electronic and in print. The student was accommodated with handheld portable magnifiers.


A student could not read books:

  • A student had low vision and was accommodated with a CCTV magnification device for reading paper documents and screen magnification software for her mobile phone.


A student having difficulty reading files due to a vision impairment caused by multiple sclerosis.

  • The school purchased a stand magnifier and added task lighting to the student with flexible submission of class work.


A student with low vision was having some difficulty distinguishing among certain character keys.

  • She was provided with a glare guard for the computer monitor and large print keyboard labels, which significantly enhanced accuracy.


A student had color vision deficiency and used corrective lenses that helped her to distinguish color during day-to-day tasks.

  • The school asked parents to provide her with customized prescription goggles to wear at work.


A preschool teacher needed to read books aloud to students during circle time.

  • She had difficulty describing and talking about the pictures in the books because of her color vision deficiency. She wanted to be able to describe the pictures accurately in order to help the children learn their colors. She was sometimes able to get help from a teaching assistant, but wanted a more independent solution. A CBR worker discussed free and low-cost apps for identifying colors and suggested that she use an app to familiarize herself with the colors used on various pages in advance. The teacher also made index cards with notes about the pictures that she wanted to describe and taped them to the back cover of each book while reading.

Listed below are other well known people who had or have a vision impairment including total blindness, sight conditions, and blindness in one eye.

Famous Blind and Sight Impaired People

  • Abdurrahman Wahid - former President of Indonesia (1940- )

  • Abraham Nemeth

  • Al Hibbler

  • Alec Templeton

  • Alecia Alanzo

  • Andrea Bocelli


  • Arnolt Schlick

  • Audre Lorde - Poet - Activist (1934 - 1992)

  • Bernard Morin

  • Blind Lemon Jefferson - (1893 - 1929) - Blues musician & singer

  • Blind Willie McTell- (1901 - 1959)

  • Brandon Jardine - was stabbed in the eyes by his parents with red hot pokers in 1991.

  • Brian McKeever

  • Clarence Carter- (born 1936)

  • Claude Monet

  • Cyrus Habib - American politician, lawyer, professor - 16th and current Lieutenant Governor of Washington.

  • David Alexander Paterson

  • David Blunkett - (born 1947) - British ex-cabinet minister

  • Denise Leigh - opera singer and winner of Channel 4's Operatunity

  • Doc Watson

  • Dorothea Lange - Photographer (1895 - 1965)

  • Dr William Moon - inventor of Moon system of reading

  • Dr. Jacob Bolotin

  • Eamon de Valera - (1882 - 1975) - President of Ireland.

  • Edgar Degas - French painter

  • Ella Fitzgerald - (1917 - 1996) - jazz singer - went blind as a result of diabetes in her old age.

  • Enrico Dandolo - (died 1205) - doge of Venice - blind from trauma.

  • Erik Weihenmayer

  • Esmond Knight - British actor

  • Esref Armagan

  • Fanny Crosby

  • Francesco Landini

  • Francisco Goya - (1746 - 1828) - painter - became blind and deaf in late life - painted blind(ed) subjects.

  • Frankie Armstrong - English folk singer and voice teacher - sight degraded in late teens onwards from glaucoma

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • Frederick Delius

  • Fritz Lang - (1890 - 1976) - nearly blind at the end of his life

  • Galileo Galilei

  • George Shearing - (1919 - ) - jazz pianist.

  • Gilbert Montagn

  • Ginny Owens - Gospel singer - totally blind from age 2

  • Harilyn Rousso - Disability Rights Activist/Psychotherapist (1946-)

  • Harriet Tubman

  • Helen Keller - (1880 - 1968)

  • Henry Fawcett - UK Postmaster General - 19th Century

  • Homer - Greek poet said to have been blind.

  • Honor Daumier - (1808 - 1879) - French caricaturist - painter - and sculptor - blind later in life.

  • Horatio Nelson

  • Isaac - biblical patriarch

  • Isaac the Blind - (1160 - 1235) - French cabbalist (possibly blind from birth)

  • Jacques Lusseyran

  • James Joyce - (1882 - 1941) - writer - at times blind - underwent several operations

  • James Thurber

  • Jeff Healey

  • Jessica Callahan - singer - blind from retinopathy of prematurity

  • Jhamak Ghimire - Nepalese Poet and Writer (1980)

  • Joaquin Rodrigo - composer - from an illness at age three

  • Johann Sebastian Bach - (1685 - 1750) - became blind in later life.

  • Johanna "Anne" Mansfield Sullivan Macy

  • John II of Aragon - (1397 - 1479) - able to see again after cataract surgery (couching) by Abiathar Crescas

  • John Milton

  • John Stanley

  • John Wesley Powell - Explorer - Geologist (1834 - 1902)

  • Johnny Depp

  • Jorge Luis Borges

  • Jose Feliciano - (born 1945) - blind from birth due to congenital glaucoma

  • Joseph Plateau

  • Joseph Pulitzer

  • Joshua Reynolds - (1723 -1792) - British painter - blind later in life.

  • Judi Chamberlin - Mental Patients' Liberation Activist (1944-)

  • Judy Heumann

  • Kelvin Tan Weilian

  • King John the Blind of Bohemia - (1309 - 1346)

  • Kiran Guru (Dr ) - First Visually Impaired Female Holding Ph.D Degree in Sociology Punjab University and First Assistant Professor in Punjabi University, Patiala (Punjab).

  • Leonhard Euler

  • Louis Braille

  • Maria Theresa Paradis

  • Marla Runyan

  • Mike May - (born 1954) - regained partial vision due to stem cell research.

  • Omar Abdel-Rahman

  • Percy Wyndham Lewis

  • Peter White MBE

  • Rahsaan Roland Kirk

  • Ray Charles

  • Richard H. Bernstein

  • Ronnie Milsap

  • Sabriye Tenberken

  • Samson - Biblical character - blinded by the Philistines

  • Sidney Bradford

  • St. Paul - Apostle

  • Stalebread Lacombe - Jazz musician - went blind in middle age

  • Stevie Wonder - (born Steveland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, name later changed to Steveland Hardaway Morris)

  • Sue Townsend

  • Surdas - (Sant Kavi Surdas)

  • Surdas - a Hindu poet - saint and musician of India

  • Thomas Gore

  • Thomas Rhodes Armitage

  • Tilly Aston

  • Tim Cordes

  • Tom Wiggins (1849 -1908)

  • Tony Max

  • W.C. Handy - (1873 -1958) - Blues composer - went blind in middle age

  • William Prescott

  • Wilma Mankiller - Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1945-)

  • Zohar Sharon - blind pro golfer

3. S & S
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