Whilst most people are very considerate towards Islanders with sight loss, we hope the following points will help clear up any misunderstandings:
Most people with sight loss won’t look any different from anyone else.
Very few people with sight loss are completely blind, most have some useful vision left. Some people with impaired sight use a cane to help them get around independently.
Many people with sight loss feel too vulnerable to use a cane. They don’t feel ready to draw attention to their sight loss.
There are many different types of sight loss so you may notice things which surprise you – however this does not mean that the person you have noticed is not sight impaired. For instance, you might notice that someone is able to read text – but that person may see only what you would see if you were looking down a narrow tube. People with “tunnel vision” probably won’t notice things to the sides, above or below this limited area of vision, so may well need a cane to help them get around safely.
Certain conditions can worsen the sight of people who have sight loss. Here are some examples: Poor light conditions – indoors and out. Glare – a bright day can cause dazzle. Being outside at night. Feeling unwell, depressed, or stressed. Moving between different light conditions (we can probably all remember feeling temporarily blinded when moving into a dark exterior after being outside on a bright day). Someone who is sight impaired takes a lot longer to adjust between different light conditions – even moving from a darker to a lighter room can be temporarily blinding.