Any loss of sight other than total blindness is usually considered a visual impairment — not a disability. There is a wide range of vision exhibited by people who have a visual impairment. This can range from total blindness through various levels of increased blindness to total blindness, or the inability to perceive light or movement.

In the United States, blindness ranks third in terms of the health problems most feared by the public after cancer and AIDS. Legal blindness does not necessarily mean total blindness; 90% of people who are legally blind have some vision.

Formally, a person is legally blind if their central visual acuity is 20/200 or lower in the best vision eye, even with corrective lenses or if he has a central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if the peripheral field is limited to a diameter of 20 degrees or less. Informally, people who, even with corrective lenses, can not read the largest letter in an eye chart are considered legally blind.

Vision Loss and Blindness Symptoms

The signals that indicate you may be losing your vision are varying. If you or one of your loved ones is experiencing some of the following symptoms, consult an ophthalmologist or visit one of our centers for a free low vision consultation, just one of our many free programs and services for the blind and visually impaired.

  • Difficulty adjusting to dark rooms or being outside at night
  • Difficulty focusing on objects near of far
  • Blinking or squinting due to excessive sensitivity to light or brightness
  • Red or swollen eyes, or swollen eyelids
  • Sudden pain in or around your eyes
  • Dark spot in the center of your vision
  • Double vision
  • Dark spots or phantom images
  • Sudden loss of sight in one eye
  • Sudden blurred or cloudy vision
  • Perceiving light flashes or bursts of black dots
  • Seeing halos or rainbows around lights or spotlights
  • Loss of peripheral vision (lateral)

Come visit one of our seven locations today! Our services are free and our mission is to help you eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and vision loss.

How to Know if You’re Losing Your Sight

Visual difficulties or loss of vision can occur long before a blindness is declared, so it is important to recognize the symptoms that indicate loss of sight. If you or someone you know experiences any of the following symptoms, call the Braille Institute to arrange a free vision loss assessment appointment. Our bilingual counselors can explain more about our free rehabilitation services.

  • Constantly stumbling against objects
  • Walking without safety or stability
  • Rubbing the walls when walking
  • Having trouble locating personal objects, even within familiar surroundings
  • Trying to reach objects in a faltering way
  • Having trouble reading, writing and recognizing familiar things
  • Stopping reading
  • Squinting or holding reading material too close to eyes, or at an angle
  • Writing less clearly than before and having difficulty writing on a line
  • Needing more light to read and do other activities
  • Having difficulty identifying faces or objects
  • Having trouble identifying colors and selecting clothes in unusual color combinations or designs
  • Showing problems with placing food on fork
  • Reaching off the plate for food while eating
  • Filling a cup or a glass too much