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Vision Impairment

Signs and Symptoms

A visual impairment affects a person’s sight and their ability to interact with the world around them. Legal blindness occurs when the person cannot see at 6 metres what others see at 60.


A person who is completely blind has no measurable vision and light perception. Others have vision loss that cannot be corrected through aids such as glasses. Impairment can occur from birth or can develop and can also affect depth and colour perception. They can include;


Cataracts - the clouding of the clear lens in the eye causing  blurred vision, glare sensitivity, distortion or the feeling of looking through a veil.


Cortical Vision Impairment - is caused by the disturbance of the visual cortex of the brain. The eyes may function normally but the brain does not interpret what the eyes see. This can be caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, head injuries or infections in the central nervous system.


Glaucoma - is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is often caused by a blockage in the eye’s drainage system. Symptoms include blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision and difficulty adjusting to low light.

For additional resources and support, visit Vision Australia

Affect on Daily Life at Work

» The person may require assistive technology or non-text informational resources

» They may require a white cane or guide dog
» Unexpected impairment may have emotional impact, resulting in social isolation, a loss of independance and decline in mental health

Workplace Support

» Ensure you understand your employee’s condition and how it affects their capacity to work
» Consider your induction protocol. If it’s text based how will you support the employee in training?
» Ensure any modifications, aids or assistive technology is in place from their first day of employment
» Consider existing workplace communication such as newsletters or emails and ensure these are adapted so the employee is not excluded
» Ensure they are confident in evacuation procedures
» Make sure amenities are in place if they require a guide dog and that staff are aware that they must not fuss over or feed the dog.

There are 575,000 people who are blind or vision impaired living in Australia

Australian Blindness Forum

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