What Do Visually Impaired People See?

I’ve never really thought about what visually impaired people can or cannot see. This article provides unique information about how much a visually impaired person can see.

There are multiple types of visual impairment:

The first type is people who cannot see large objects, but can see light and shadows.

The next type is people who were born able to see, but lost their vision at some point throughout their life.

Another type is people who have been visually impaired since birth.

It’s impossible for a seeing person to simulate what a visually impaired person sees, because the sighted person has the memories of people, objects, and the world around them.  While visually impaired people cannot physically see anything, their other senses take over and can activate the visual cortex of their brain. For visually impaired individuals, audio messages are processed in the visual cortex. These people can in essence see sound.  As the baby boomers continue to age, the number of people with visual impairments continues to increase. Some medical conditions that can lead to visual impairment include diabetes and glaucoma. It’s essential that sighted people try to have an understanding of the world visually impaired people are living in.

Key Points:

  • 1People who are visually impaired since birth see nothing–not even the color black.
  • 2Visually impaired people use their other senses to create a spatial map of the area around them.
  • 3Because the population is aging and disorders such as glaucoma and diabetes are prevalent, it is important to learn how to help those who are visually impaired.

There is more than one answer to what visually impaired people see because there is more than one type of visual impairment. Some people are considered “visually impaired” who can still perceive light and shadow, some used to see but went visually impaired so their brains remember visual input, some are considered legally blind but can still make out large objects and familiar people.

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