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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Blind/Visual Impairment: Home

This guide provides resources on the Blind and Visual Impairments.

Definitions of Blind and Visual Impairment

While there are no completely accepted definitions of blindness, vision loss, or vision impairment, here are some definitions to help Cartoon of a person walking with a white canedifferentiate between visual terms. According to the Encyclopedia of Public Health, total blindness is the "inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see," while visual impairment or vision loss is "a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, and reduces a person's ability to function at certain or all tasks." Individuals can be blind or visually impaired from birth or develop blindness or vision impairment from accidents, illness, or natural causes.

Who is Affected by Blindess or Visual Impairment?

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau "Americans with Disabilities, 2010:"

  • 8.1 million people in the United States had difficulty seeing
  • 2 million were blind or unable to see

Subject Guide

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JJ Pionke

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