People Who are Blind or Partially Sighted
There is a wide range of visual impairments. Profound blindness
is the inability to distinguish fingers at a distance of three
metres or less. Partial sight is the inability to distinguish
fingers at the distance of six metres.
A preferred description of blind and partially sighted people is
"people with sight problems".
Did You Know?
- There are around 2 million people in the UK who are blind or
- Every day over 100 people start to lose their sight.
- Only 4% of blind people can see nothing at all.
- Only 3% of blind people use Braille.
- 10,000 people in Worcestershire will have a significant visual
impairment and 90% will be over 60 years of age.
What can you do?
When talking to someone who has a sight problem, don't worry
about looking for alternative words to "look" and "see". Blind and
partially sighted people speak the same language as everybody
Always use the person's name, or lightly touch their arm to get
- Don't assume what people want – Always ask!
- Don't pat or feed a Guide Dog belonging to a blind person -
they are working dogs.
- People with white canes are not necessarily totally blind, but
even partially sighted people may need help – e.g. at night, in an
unfamiliar place or in low lit areas.
- People with a white cane with red bands on it have both sight
and hearing loss, as do those whose guide dog has a red and white
- Identify yourself when first speaking to a blind person.
- Do speak directly to the visually impaired person and not
through a third party.
- Stand still, so a person with partial sight can maintain eye
contact with you.
- If guiding someone, allow them to hold your arm, rather than
vice versa, so they are in control – if totally blind, you will
need to offer assistance verbally.
- Do not leave their company without telling them.
- Keep floors and aisles clear of clutter and hazards – don't
move furniture unnecessarily, tell them if you do.
- Use conversation informing them of where items have been
placed, e.g. cup in front of you, to your left etc.
- Inform them of the layout of the room they are in and who else
is there if they want to know.
Methods of Communication for People with Visual
Worcestershire Association for the Blind
2 Sansome Walk
Telephone: 01905 723245
This Information can be made available in other languages
(including British Sign Language) and alternative formats (large
print, audio tape, computer disk and Braille) on request from
Corporate Diversity Manager on 01905 766225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UK's leading charity offering information, support and advice
to almost two million people with sight loss.
- Action for Blind People
A national charity with local reach, providing practical help
and support to blind and partially sighted people of all ages.
We are not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more
This page was last reviewed 29 May 2013 at 15:01.
The page is next due for review 25 November 2014.