What is Blindness?

Blindness is a temporary or permanent medical condition perceived as loss of useful sight, which however is different than low vision. It can be due to many causes which result in a damage to any portion of the eye, the optic nerve or the area of the brain responsible for vision. A differentiation is usually made between the total blindness and legal blindness. Total blindness refers to the inability to see anything with either eye. Legal blindness is a level of vision loss that has been legally defined to determine eligibility for benefits. A person is diagnosed with (legal) blindness when has a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Video explanations of blindness and legal blindness:

(1) Legally Blind 13: how I see the world?

(2) Roberto Cordero – Legal blindness: explained.


Examples of what people with blindness experience in everyday life:

(1) The Tommy Edison Experience - What are the differences between Being Blind & Legally Blind?

(2) The Tommy Edison Experience Extras - More "Differences Between Being Blind & Legally Blind"


Research, white papers and reports on all aspects of blindness and visual impairment:

(1) JVIB - Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness



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  2. Duffy MA, Low vision and Legal Blindness Terms and Descriptions, URL:
  3. Power C, Petrie H, Swallow D. Guidelines are only half of the story: accessibility problems encountered by blind users on the web. Proceedings of CHI’12, 2012, pp.433-442.
  4. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Diseases of the eye and adnexa: visual disturbances and blindness (H53-H54). Url: