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What is blindness?

Blindness in a literal sense refers to individuals who see nothing at all. Some blind people have a limited ability to see with the use of assistive devices or can distinguish light or a light source. Anyone who is blind experiences major visual impairment. Blindness can result from a variety of causes; the most common causes are Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy.

Worldwide, there are between 300 and 400 million people who have an eye condition in some form. Of this group, approximately 50 million people are completely blind, almost 85% of whom live in third world countries. 80% occurs in people aged 50 or older.

Being told that vision is affected can turn the world upside down. When the first emotions subside, the knowledge that one is not alone may provide support. There are many people in the same situation, some who have just been diagnosed themselves and some who have been living with blindness for years.

There are all kinds of devices available who can help with the tasks one has difficulty with. These aids can provide support with various tasks and can help you continue to live a full and independent life.

Picture sight without and with blindness
Left: normal vision. Right: no sight due to blindness

What are the symptom of blindness?

Symptoms may include:

What can one expect from blindness?

The level and options for restoring vision depend on the cause of the blindness. In some cases, such as cataracts, surgery can help restore some or all of your vision. In other cases it is permanent and irreversible. People who become blind often need retraining and reorganization of their habits to teach them to perform everyday tasks in a different way. There are many blind people who, despite sometimes significant limitations, still live full and rich lives.

More information on blindness

There is extensive information available about blindness. This information is intended to inform you about the most important aspects of this eye condition and is not intended to replace the information you receive from your doctor or eye specialist.