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Understanding Vision Loss

Many terms are used to gain a better understanding of vision loss because impaired vision has many roots and causes, and a vast variety of symptoms. To gain a better understanding, we will review some of the common terms.

The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that 10 million people in the United States are visually impaired. Visual impairment is a term experts use to describe any kind of vision loss, whether it's someone who cannot see at all or someone who has partial vision loss.

Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses. Visual impairment, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance .  Visual impairment may cause difficulties with normal daily activities such as driving, reading, socializing, and walking.

The term blindness is used for complete or nearly complete vision loss. For additional information, see National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Low Vision.

Many people have some type of visual problem at some point in their lives. Some can no longer see objects far away. Others have problems reading small print. These types of conditions are often easily treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. But when one or more parts of the eye or brain that are needed to process images become diseased or damaged, severe or total loss of vision can occur. In these cases, vision can't be fully restored with medical treatment, surgery, or corrective lenses like glasses or contacts.