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A blind woman packaging nitrile gloves for shipment at Bosma Enterprises production warehouse

Quick Stats

The 2012 National Health Interview Survey reported that 20.6 million American Adults 18 and older experienced vision loss. This includes:

  • 15.3 million American adults from ages 18 to 64
  • 5.3 million American adults 65 and older
  • 12.4 million women and 8.2 million men

Definitions of Visual Impairment

Legal blindness is defined as a visual acuity of 20/200 and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

Functional limitation is measured especially in the area of reading and seeing print and is defined as:

  • Severe: People who are completely unable to see words and letters
  • Non-severe: People who have difficulty seeing words and letters

Most Common Types of Blindness and Vision Loss

  • Macular Degeneration: One of the most common types of vision loss. Loss of central vision and color perception
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Patches of vision loss, cloudy vision, glare sensitivity and difficulty with night and low light vision
  • Glaucoma: Side vision loss, tunnel vision, blurred central vision and colored rings on lights. More common after 40 years of age
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa: Side vision loss that is progressive over time and can develop mobility issues
  • Cataracts: Blurry or hazy vision, glare sensitivity, color perception loss, double vision. More common for people over 55 years of age
  • Blindness: Complete loss of vision, though a person might still see light, dark and/or gray haze

Myths About Blindness

There are a number of myths about blindness and visual impairment. These myths are destructive – they perpetuate stereotypes and hinder our progress toward equality for all.

Contrary to widely-held beliefs, many people who are blind or visually impaired are completely capable and living productive lives. We see it firsthand through our programs – people who are blind or visually impaired, but thriving. They are talented, independent and confident.

We encourage you to learn more about people with disabilities. Start by getting the facts about blindness and visual impairment. Together, we can change perceptions.

Common Myths and Facts About Employing a Person With a Disability

MYTH: It will be difficult to supervise employees with disabilities. 
FACT: According to a Harris poll, 82% of managers said employees with disabilities were no harder to supervise than employees without disabilities.

MYTH: People with disabilities are not reliable.
FACT: People with disabilities tend to remain on the job and maintain better levels of attendance.

MYTH: Hiring employees with disabilities increases workers’ compensation insurance rates. 
FACT: Insurance rates are based on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.

MYTH: People with disabilities are unable to meet performance standards, thus making them a bad employment risk.
FACT: In 1990, DuPont conducted a survey of 811 employees with disabilities and found that 90 percent rated average or better in job performance – on par with employees without a disability.

MYTH: People with disabilities are more likely to have accidents on the job than employees without disabilities.
FACT: In the same DuPont study, safety records of both groups were identical.