Blindness may result from a disease, injury or other conditions that limit vision. Legal blindness means that a person has vision that measures 20/200 or worse, explains the Iowa Department for the Blind. For example, someone with 20/200 vision sees an object from 20 feet that a person with perfect 20/20 vision is able to see from 200 feet. Knowing the challenges blindness creates may help sighted people understand what blind people face each day.
People with complete blindness or low vision often have a difficult time self-navigating outside well-known environments. In fact, physical movement is one of the biggest challenges for blind people, explains World Access for the Blind. Traveling or simply walking down a crowded street may pose great difficulty. Because of this, many people with low vision will bring a sighted friend or family member to help navigate unknown environments.
As well, blind people must learn every detail about the home environment. Large obstacles such as tables and chairs must remain in one location to prevent injury. If a blind person lives with others, each member of the household must diligently keep walkways clear and all items in designated locations.
Blindness causes considerable social challenges, usually in relation to the activities in which a blind person cannot participate. All too frequently, blindness affects a person's ability to perform many job duties, which severely limits her employment opportunities, explains the World Health Organization. This may not only affect a person's finances, but also her self esteem.
Blindness may also cause difficulties with participating in activities outside of a workplace, such as sports and academics. Many of these social challenges limit a blind person's ability to meet people, and this only adds to low self esteem.
Technology poses a challenge for blind people as well. For example, a blind person cannot read the information on a web page. Searching the internet requires screen reading software will read the information on a website, but this may require a significant amount of time to learn the process. People who have limited vision may have difficulty with viewing websites as well, particularly the small fonts, icons and screen colors used by many sites, says the University of Wisconsin. People with low vision may require special equipment that can enlarge a screen significantly. Other technology, such as music players that require visual selection of music, or text messages, will also cause challenges for blind people.
- World Access for the Blind: Conquering the Challenges of Blindness
- World Health Organization: Socio-Economic Aspects of Blindness and Visual Impairment
- University of Wisconsin KnowledgeBase: Web Accessibility -- Common Problems People with Websites
- Iowa Department for the Blind: Legal Definition of Blindness