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Visually Impaired

Overview and definition

The term "visual impairment" is used to describe a variety of problems with eyesight, from total blindness to variations of partial sightedness. Individuals with visual acuity equal to or less than 20/200 are considered to be legally blind. It is impossible to correct their vision by medical or surgical means or corrective glasses. Many will rely on the use of a white cane or a dog guide to assist them, as well as the use of sound and touch. Partial sight is a category of visual loss that designates individual acuity levels between 20/70 and 20/200. Some can distinguish only light or dark or varying patterns and shapes. Many are able to read with difficulty.

What are the types of visual impairments?

The most obvious impairment would be blindness, but partial vision impairment is far more common.  Examples include extreme myopia, lack of peripheral vision, lack of central vision, sensitivity to light, impaired movement of the eye, and problems with focus.  

Academic accommodations

  • Provision of extended time for tests and exams (usually time and a half).
  • Provision of a scribe/reader for exams and tests.
  • Provision of a note taker for lectures.
  • Provision of alternative format materials (AFM), such as Braille, large print, electronic text.


What Should the Student Know?

Academic Support will aid in obtaining any recorded texts or materials. Since this can be a long process, we encourage you to schedule classes as early as permitted and see that Academic Support is aware of your schedule and classes for which you will need alternative texts.

Academic Support or Disability Services will assist you in composing a letter to help your professors understand the accommodations you have worked out with Academic Support and/or Disability Services. It is highly recommended that students meet with professors to ensure mutual understanding in accommodations.