Vision Impairments

Less than 20 degrees visual field loss in both eyes is a vision impairment. A vision impairment in the educational context is vision loss that constitutes a limitation of visual capability resulting from diseases, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition.


Some terms to know are:

Low Vision / Partially Sighted:  Low vision applies to all individuals with limited sight who are unable to read standard print materials. They use a combination of residual vision and adaptive devices (glasses and other means) to learn.


Totally blind

These individuals rely on Braille and other non-visual forms of media (such as books on tape). is the complete lack of form and light perception and is clinically recorded as “NLP” an abbreviation for “no light perception.


Features and Characteristics

The degree to which visual impairments affect development may depend on many factors such as the type of visual loss, severity, age of onset, intellectual ability, and environmental experiences. The lack of vision or reduced vision may result in delays or in motor, cognitive, and social development. Other senses are heightened as a result of the impairment.



An ophthalmologist and other primary professionals will do an assessment to examine for any visual impairment. Yearly exams and check-up are also important. It is recommended that a child has a visual examination by the time the child is four years old. Early detection is important to an individual with a visual impairment.


What to Expect

Children with a visual impairment may need adaptive means to learn about their environment. For example, a parent can facilitate the learning of the child by using sensory and verbal techniques (a cotton ball is like the shape of a cloud).  Some children who have multiple disabilities may also have visual impairments resulting in motor, cognitive, and/or social developmental delays.


This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If your child has any health concerns, please consult your healthcare provider.