Blind

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The word "blind" is usually used to describe people with severe visual impairment(severe sight impairment). People with lesser degrees of visual impairment are sometimes referred to as "partially sighted" (Sight impairment, partial sight)

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Legal definition of blindness

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The legal definition of severe sight impairment (previously called ‘blindness’) is when "a person is so blind that they cannot do any work for which eyesight is essential"[1]. The Department of Health regards this definition as satisfied if:

  • Very poor visual acuity (less than 3/60), but having a full field of vision
  • Poor visual acuity (between 3/60 and 6/60) and a severe reduction in field of vision
  • Slightly reduced visual acuity (6/60 or better) and a significantly reduced field of vision
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"An individual shall be considered to be blind for purposes of this title if he has central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye which is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees shall be considered for purposes of the first sentence of this subsection as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less. An individual shall also be considered to be blind for purposes of this title if he is blind as defined under a State plan approved under title X or XVI as in effect for October 1972 and received aid under such plan (on the basis of blindness) for December 1973, so long as he is continuously blind as so defined."[2]

Other definitions

Sight impairment

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DoH:

  • Poor visual acuity (3/60 to 6/60) but having a full field of vision, or
  • A combination of slightly reduced visual acuity (up to 6/24) and a reduced field of vision or having blurriness or cloudiness in your central vision, or
  • Relatively good visual acuity (up to 6/18) but a significantly reduced field of vision

Support for people who are blind or visually impaired

See Charities relating to people who are blind or visually impaired.

References

  1. National Assistance Act 1948 Section 64(1)
  2. Social Security Act. "Sec. 1614. Meaning of terms.
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