An overview of visual impairment

Visual impairment - where a person has sight loss that cannot be fully corrected using glasses or contact lenses. 

Visual impairment may be congenital (present from birth) or acquired (develops after birth). Several causes of visual impairment are age-related, e.g. cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Visual impairment is therefore more common in the elderly than in children. 

Key points:

  • Visual impairment is a relatively low-incidence disability, but it frequently has a high impact. 
  • There is considerable range of needs amongst people who have visual impairment.
  • Speech and language therapy contributes by advising and supporting the family, carers and other practitioners concerning the communication of people who have visual impairment.
  • Many people who have learning disability and/or physical disabilities also have visual impairment; dysphagia is common in this group. Speech and language therapy promotes safe and enjoyable eating, drinking and swallowing in these people.

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Cross-reference with other topic areas:

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