Common Myths and Facts About Vision Loss

Updated on May 24, 2018
Tim Truzy info4u profile image

Tim Truzy is a rehabilitation counselor, educator, and former dispatcher from North Carolina.

Many people with visual impairments use the white cane to navigate while walking.
Many people with visual impairments use the white cane to navigate while walking. | Source

Myths persist about different groups. Infrequent contact with these groups contributes to misunderstanding by the general public. Fear plays a part in keeping those myths alive. Long-held assumptions become flawed perception in the general population. People with vision loss represent such a group that faces a flawed perception.

Sharing information is the best way to increase understanding. Truth tears fiction into pieces and promotes harmony. I am trained as a rehabilitation counselor as well as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. In addition, I live with a visual impairment. Here are some myths about people who are visually impaired. Facts to counter those misconceptions are included as well:

Separating Myth From Fact

  • Myth: All people who are visually impaired use dogs for travel.
  • Truth: In fact, nearly three percent of people with vision loss use white canes (shown in the photo.) Others may use a dog guide. Many do not like having to take care of a canine (cleaning up poop, feeding, grooming costs, etc.) With appropriate training in travel skills, people who are visually impaired make the right choice for their needs.
  • Myth: People who are visually impaired have cognitive problems; they are not well-informed about the world.
  • Truth: People with visual impairments can use computer technology. They also read books and magazines. They attend universities and earn degrees. Their option as a whole to be informed is a matter of personal choice like everyone else. With adequate opportunities and appropriate training, there is no reason for the person with a visual impairment to function successfully in society.
  • Myth: People who are visually impaired have super special hearing.
  • Truth: With training, these individuals learn to use their remaining senses in a wide variety of ways. Some people with vision loss also have hearing loss. There is a condition known as “deaf-blindness” which impacts some individuals. But on average, people who are visually impaired are just like fully sighted individuals.
  • Myth: People who are visually impaired are lonely and isolated. They must be supervised and protected for their own safety.
  • Truth: People with visual impairments can be active in their communities. They enjoy recreation and participate in cultural events. Usually, their level to be sociable is a personal choice.
  • Myth: All blindness is the same.
  • Truth: The term “blindness” is often used loosely by the general public. Blindness can be defined on a range of vision loss. Professionals use the phrase “visual impairment” to refer to a loss of some or all eye sight by an individual. There are people who are totally blind. Others may be color-blind, and there are other descriptions of vision loss, too.
  • Myth: Children with visual impairments must be set apart from other children.
  • Truth: Some students with visual impairments may attend a specialized school where they live during most weeks. However, children more often with visual impairments attend public schools with their peers. They receive specialized services from trained professionals. Many of the tools they train with will help them in adult life.
  • Myth: People who have visual impairments cannot work.
  • Truth: Individuals with visual impairments work in different fields performing different jobs. They use technology designed to help them perform their job duties. They contribute as active employees.
  • Myth: All blind people use Braille.
  • Truth: The majority of individuals with visual impairments read large print. These individuals have “low vision.” They may also use magnifiers to enlarge regular print. About 6 percent of people with visual impairments read Braille. People who have visual impairments may use audio recorded materials in conjunction with other formats to read.

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Sources Used

16 Myths About Blindness | Mental Floss. Retrieved July 1, 2017 from: http://mentalfloss.com/article/90085/16-myths-about-blindness

Misconceptions and Myths about Blindness - The Iris Network. Retrieved July 1, 2017 from: http://www.theiris.org/resources/faqs/misconceptions-and-myths-about-blindness.

WHO | 10 facts about blindness and visual impairment. Retrieved July 1, 2017 from: http://www.orcam.com/top-10-misconceptions-about-blindness/.

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      Tim Truny 

      8 months ago

      One myth which I did not mention in this article concerns an unusual aspect of all people with disabilities. If a person has met another individual with the same condition, there is a tendency to ask: "Do you know John Doe? He has vision loss as well."

      People with vision loss don't automatically know one another. In fact, they thrive in different communities with various interests and abilities, like everyone else. Just because a person is visually impaired does not mean he/she knows Stevy Wonder or ronny Millsap personally. Nor does it mean that they were close friends with Ray Charles. Also, remember: all people with vision loss may not choose to play an instrument.

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