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NARRATOR 1: People with visual impairments using assistive devices.

NARRATOR 2: For people with normal sight, it can be difficult to fully comprehend the experience of the visually impaired. One frequent comment from those with vision loss is: “if you could see what I see, you’d understand what I’m going through.” In this section, we have created a series of simulations for the most common causes of vision loss. We hope that by viewing them, you will gain a better appreciation for vision loss and improve your ability to assist and communicate with those who have low vision.

Macular Degeneration

NARRATOR 1: A blurred image with dark spot in the center.

NARRATOR 2: Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older people. It is a condition that affects the center portion of the eye. That’s the part responsible for central vision in seeing detail.


NARRATOR 1: A sharp, focused image becomes blurred.

NARRATOR 2: A cataract is a cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye. Cataracts cause an overall blurring and haziness of vision. If you have cataracts, it often appears as if everything is out of focus. People with cataracts tend to be very sensitive to bright light and glare.

Glaucoma/Retinitis Pigmentosa

NARRATOR 1: A blurred image with a sharply focused area in the center.

NARRATOR 2: While very different conditions, both glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa result in a loss of peripheral vision often described as tunnel vision. People with a certain type of glaucoma can also experience nausea, headaches, and halos around bright lights.

Diabetic Retinopathy

NARRATOR 1: A blurred image with dark spots throughout.

NARRATOR 2: When diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, this condition results in overall blurred vision and blind spots from bleeding in the eye. The conditions can produce patchwork images, where portions are completely blocked out.

Hemianopsia: Stroke-Related Blindness

NARRATOR 1: Image of a refrigerator, left side blurred, right side focused.

NARRATOR 2: The result of a cerebral stroke, brain tumor or trauma–hemianopsia–is the loss of vision in half the visual field. Look at how difficult it is to see the water and ice dispenser on the left. People with this condition can benefit from learning new techniques to scan their environment.