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Vision Loss

Child Wearing Glasses

Vision loss reduces a person’s ability to see clearly. Few people with vision loss are totally blind. Many have limited vision such as tunnel vision, where a person has a loss of peripheral or side vision, or a lack of central vision, which means they cannot see straight ahead. Some people can see the outline of objects while others can see the direction of light. Vision loss can restrict the persons’ abilities to read signs, locate landmarks or see hazards. Some of these people may use a guide dog or white cane, but others may not. Sometimes it may be difficult to tell if a person has vision loss.

Types of assistance a person might use: Braille, large print, magnification devices, white cane, guide dog, and support person such as a sighted guide.

Tips:

  • Say your name even if you know the person well as many voices sound similar.
  • Don’t touch the person without asking permission.
  • Offer your elbow to guide the person.
  • Identify landmarks or other details to orient the person to the environment.
  • Don't leave the person in the middle of a room. Show him or her to a chair, or guide the person to a comfortable location.
  • If you need to leave the person, let him or her know.
  • Be clear and precise when giving directions.
  • When providing printed information, offer to read or summarize it.
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