Legal Blindness vs Total Blindness

What’s the difference?

Legal blindness is a term used by the United States government to determine whether someone is eligible for disability benefits.

The majority of people who are legally blind have some sight available to them, or what is referred to as ‘low vision.’ Unlike near or farsightedness, ‘low vision’ cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery.

Total blindness refers to the complete lack of form and light perception. Did you know that only 15% of people with eye disorders are completely without sight?

What does total blindness look like?
Visualizing total blindness might be impossible. For instance, the video at left portrays a black screen to represent total blindness. But someone who was born blind has never experienced the color ‘black,’ and may simply describe what they see as ‘nothing.’ They rely on other senses – especially hearing and touch — to explore and understand the world.


All About Low Vision

Legal and Total and Low, oh my! Getting all the terms straight for blindness can be daunting. Learn all about the differences between low vision, legal blindness, total blindness, and more at this helpful link from VisionAware.

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