Facts About Visual Impairment
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.
For the sake of discussing children in institutions needing adoptive families, we have created this category to differentiate from blindness. Children with Visual Impairment have some vision, but are not completely blind.
Vision impairment can be associated with other conditions, such as albinism. Families considering the adoption of a child with a vision issue should request a complete medical file and consult with a physician in the USA for the purpose of understanding the child's abilities and needs.
Visual Impairment Challenges
So much learning occurs visually. When vision loss goes undetected, children are often delayed in developing a wide range of skills. While they can do virtually all the activities and tasks that sighted children take for granted, children who are visually impaired often need to learn to do them in a different way or using different tools or materials.
Because there are many different causes of visual impairment, the degree of impairment a child experiences can range from mild to severe (up to, and including, blindness). The degree of impairment will depend on:
- the particular eye condition a child has;
- what aspect of the visual system is affected (e.g., ability to detect light, shape, or color; ability to see things at a distance, up close, or peripherally); and
- how much correction is possible through glasses, contacts, medicine, or surgery.
The term “blindness” does not necessarily mean that a child cannot see anything at all. A child who is considered legally blind may very well be able to see light, shapes, colors, and objects (albeit indistinctly). Having such residual vision can be a valuable asset for the child in learning, movement, and life.