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January 4th is World Braille Day. The day celebrates Louis Braille who invented the Braille reading method. Braille is not a language but a series of codes that help blind and visually impaired people to read and write.

 

BLINDNESS AND LOW VISION

Globally, 285 million people are visually impaired, 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries.

Low vision care of children with visual impairment early in the life could potentially minimize long-term permanent visual disability and reduce the number of blind years. Low vision care is recognized as a priority in “VISION 2020: The Right to Sight” programs.

Low vision indicates that the person is not blind and that the vision is less than normal. These individuals are best helped with low vision devices such as large print, magnifiers, and illumination.

Low vision is a visual impairment that may interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily living and leisure activities, as well as performing work.

 

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) DEFINITIONS OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT, BLINDNESS & LOW VISION

Vision impairment is described as a condition encompassing the continuum from partial sight to blindness while blindness is defined as Visual acuity less than 3/60 in the better eye after best possible correction and visual field < 10 degree from the point of fixation.

Low Vision is defined as impairment of visual functioning even after treatment, and/or standard refractive correction, with a visual acuity of less than 6/18 to light perception or a visual field of less than 10 degrees from the point of fixation, even though the person uses, or is potentially able to use, vision for the planning and/or execution of tasks.

 

CAUSES OF LOW VISION

Children and adults can get low vision from eye disease, hereditary conditions, or trauma.

There are many different conditions that can cause low vision, and each condition affects sight in a different way.

Some eye conditions that cause low vision are based on the structure involved. It could be from damage in the cornea, retina, lens or other part of the eye.

 

As we celebrate World Braille day, remember that blindness can be caused by untreated eye problems. Early detection and treatment is important, so always encourage eye tests for children and minors.

 

Happy Braille Day!