Blindness: Definition, Meaning as a Disability

Blindness is defined as the state of being sightless. A blind individual is unable to see. In a strict sense the word blindness denotes the condition of total blackness of vision with the inability of a person to distinguish darkness from bright light in either eye. The terms blind and blindness have been modified in our society to include a wide range of visual impairment. Blindness is frequently used today to describe severe visual decline in one or both eyes with maintenance of some residual vision.

Eighty percent of blindness occurs in people over 50 years old. Common causes of blindness include diabetes, macular degeneration, traumatic injuries, infections of the cornea or retina, glaucoma, and inability to obtain any glasses.

Blindness as Disability

Blindness is among one of the most widely occurring disabling condition. According to an estimate about 246 million people have low vision worldwide and and 39 million people are blind. Almost about 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in the developing countries.

In India, under RPWD Act 2016, low vision is considered to be a disability. A person having benchmark disability, can avail disability benefits from the government.

blindness disability

Disability Certificate for Blindness

To get a disability certificate for blindness, contact your nearest government hospital and get yourself evaluated. The doctors assess the extent of vision loss and a certificate is given accordingly.

The medical authority will decide whether disability certificate should be temporary or permanent. The disability shall be permanent to be certified. The certificate can be temporary if condition is likely to worsen and also for specific purposes such as for pursuing education. The need of reassessment, if required, should be clearly mentioned in the certificate with time frame. In certain cases such as keratoconus, developmental defects, operated congenital cataract with corneal decompensation, operated congenital glaucoma with hazy cornea etc., the patient especially can be issued a temporary certificate.

Medical Authority for Disability Certificate

The medical authority shall comprise of one ophthalmologist and certificate of disability shall be countersigned by Medical Superintendent or Chief Medical Officer or Civil Surgeon or any other equivalent authority as notified the State Government.


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