Blind people come in all shapes and sizes. Most of them walk through society unnoticed. Others live such remarkable lives that they leave an indelible mark on history, compelling others to ask questions about what it means to be blind. Take a look below for 17 fun and interesting facts about blindness.
1. An astonishing 285 million people around the world are visually impaired. If nothing is done to curb the situation, that number could triple in the next few decades.
2. Being visually impaired is not the same as being totally blind. When people use the word ‘blindness’, they are referring to one of several different types and stages of visual impairment. For instance, some blind people can see shapes. Others can see colours. You also have those that can see light.
3. Among the visually impaired, roughly 15% are completely blind. In other words, they see nothing whatsoever.
4. The reason blind people are not as easy to spot as you might think is that less than 2% of them use those white sticks with which they are typically associated. The rest use either guide dogs or they get by with no additional tools.
5. Cataracts cause blindness in more adults over 50 than any other factor. The issue is treatable if it is caught early.
6. Blind people are not helpless. Most of them live totally independently. Their lives are just as full and complex as the lives of people who are not visually impaired.
7. Being blind doesn’t heighten your other sense. To be more specific, blind people do not have super hearing. Blindness forces them to pay more attention to their other senses. A person’s senses do not magically grow stronger because they lost their sight.
8. Blind people dream just like anyone else. However, if they were born blind, their dreams revolve around the senses they typically use in their daily life.
9. The visually impaired can use digital technology. If they are not completely blind, they rely on magnifiers to look at computer and smartphone screens. Otherwise, they depend on braille displays and screen readers.
10. No one can tell you for certain what people who are totally blind can see. However, you cannot accurately simulate total blindness by closing your eyes because totally blind individuals do not see black, especially if they were born blind.
11. Blind people do not rely on guide dogs to interpret traffic lights. This is because guide dogs can’t differentiate between the green and red colours of a traffic light. They can’t even tell that the colour has changed. It is up to the blind person to use the sounds around them to determine that it is safe to cross.
12. In the United States, only 16% of married blind people ever experience divorce.
13. Guide dogs poop just like any other dog, but they do so on command. This allows blind people to clean up after them.
14. Brian Jacques wrote the Redwall books with blind children in mind. This is why they are so renowned for their descriptive imagery.
15. Today, blind people use Braille to read. But the technique was originally created by Charles Barbier who wanted to give Napoleon’s spies a way to read in the dark.
16. Blind people can still hallucinate under the effects of LSD.
17. Diabetics are 25 times more likely to go blind than non-diabetics.