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Commonly, there are three types/ degrees of vision loss:

  1. Visual acuity of 20/200 - the legally blind person can see at 20 feet what the average-sighted person can see at 200;

  2. Low vision - limited or diminished vision that cannot be corrected with standard lenses; and

  3. Partial sight - the field of vision is impaired because of an illness, a degenerative syndrome, or trauma. Only two percent of the people with vision impairments are totally blind; most blind people have some amount of usable vision. 

  • Blind students gain access to printed information in a variety of ways. They use braille, taped texts, readers, raised-line drawings, talking computer terminals, and other equipment.
  • Partially-sighted students use large print materials, closed circuit magnifiers, or other magnifying devices, large-print computer terminals, or telescopic lenses They may also use large-print typing elements for papers. Some will be able to take their own notes in a class by printing large letters with a felt tip pen. Both blind students and partially sighted students may tape record lectures for later use. The student should discuss his/her needs with the Teacher as early in the session as possible.

  • It is usually beneficial for partially sighted students to make use of what vision they have unless it is not recommended medically (after eye surgery or during an active inflammation). Sitting in front of the room, having large print on the chalkboard, or using enlarged print on an overhead projector may assist a partially sighted student. Overheads can also be reproduced on copy machines.

  • That there is a wide range of abilities among partially sighted students. Some can benefit from good sources of light; others are hindered by bright light. Some visual impairments may fluctuate from time to time, as those of persons who have multiple sclerosis often do; others remain constant.

  • Most students with vision impairments will require some adaptation for taking tests. Such adaptations may include braille or large-print text, use of closedcircuit magnifiers, a reader, a scribe, or a typewriter. Many partially sighted students cannot see well enough to use a computerized answer sheet and will need to write answers on a separate sheet for someone else to record on the answer sheet. Students with visual impairments will usually need extra time on their tests, especially if they are reading the tests themselves.
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