Understanding Vision Loss/Visual Impairment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vision loss occurs when a person’s eyesight is not corrected to a “normal” level. Some babies are born without the ability to see and vision loss can occur at any time during a person’s lifetime. Vision loss or visual impairment varies greatly and can be caused by many things, including damage to the eye itself or even a problem in the brain.1
Sight and visual clues are important to a developing baby and vision loss/vision impairment can affect how a child understands and functions in the world. Vision loss/vision impairment can also affect a child’s cognitive, emotional, and physical development.2
Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a fact sheet about vision loss/visual impairment. It is also available en español (scroll down page).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information specific to children with low vision/visual impairment.
- My Child Without Limits has created a list of answers to frequently asked questions related to low vision/vision impairment.
- Lighthouse International provides information specific to babies and children who have low vision or visual impairment.
- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Services for the Blind provides information to help blind and visually impaired people be more independent.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) collaborates with state and national partners in the attempt to create a more effective multilevel network for vision loss prevention and eye health promotion.
- The National Federation of the Blind has information and resources to assist those with low vision/vision impairment.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology has created a resource guide entitled Living With Low Vision.
- The North Carolina Low Vision Task Force has created a Directory of Vision Services for North Carolina residents.
- The North Carolina Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairment and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairment are dedicated to sharing information and resources related to raising children with low vision or visual impairment.
Advocacy and Social Connections
- To connect with other parents/families who have a child with vision loss/visual impairment, contact the Family Support NetworkTM of North Carolina.
- The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children is an organization of parents and friends of children who are blind or who have low vision/visual impairment that provides support, encouragement, advocacy, information, and resources.
- Prevent Blindness America is dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight.
- My Child Without Limits provides tips and strategies for advocating for your child who has low vision or visual impairment.
- Family Connect is a community created for connecting parents of children with visual impairment.
Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?
Contact a Resource Specialist at 1-800-852-0042 or FSP.CDR@unc.edu
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). Vision Loss Fact Sheet. Available online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/parents_pdfs/VisionLossFactSheet.pdf
- My Child Without Limits. Vision Loss. Available online at http://www.mychildwithoutlimits.org/?page=vision-loss