Basics on Vision Loss

People of all ages can lose vision because of hereditary diseases, accidents, or acquired eye diseases.

Different eye conditions impact a person’s vision in different ways.

An individual who has some remaining vision may be referred to as blind or having low vision.  Someone who has no light perception in either eye is said to be blind.

What are some of the causes of vision loss?
Some causes of vision loss and their effects are listed below. The National Eye Institute (www.nei.nih.gov) is an excellent source for information on eye diseases.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy—Vision fluctuates, distortions and floaters
  • Macular Degeneration—Loss of central and detail vision, distorted vision, difficulty reading
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa—Night blindness, loss of peripheral vision
  • Glaucoma—Loss of peripheral vision, decreased contrast, night blindness
  • Cataract—Lens of the eye becomes cloudy, causing blurred vision, difficulty reading, sensitivity to light, and faded colors
  • Optic Neuritis—Inflammation of the optic nerve resulting in sudden partial or complete loss of vision, changes in the pupil’s reactions to bright light, loss of color vision, pain when moving eye

How does vision loss affect daily living?
Vision loss can affect a person’s daily living tasks in some of the following ways:

  • Driving
  • Cooking
  • Reading
  • Recognizing faces
  • Writing checks
  • Reading a computer screen
  • Crossing streets
  • Navigating steps and curbs
  • Managing medications

Who can I contact for assistance?
Regardless of the kind of vision loss, local, state and national resources can help you regain independence.

The Department of Services for the Blind, Washington State’s premiere resource for people who are blind or have low vision, provides referrals to community programs, job counseling, and training in daily living skills.

Request services online. Or contact us at 800-552-7103 or info@dsb.wa.gov for more information.