Skip to Main Content

Special Education

Subject guide for the discipline and field of special education.

Blindess, Low Vision, and Other Terms

The goal of this guide is to help patrons find resources and selections on the topic of Blind/Low Vision, but these terms can be misunderstood. Blindness and other medical terms are often used such as: low vision, vision impairment, visual acuity, legal blindness, etc. This section will outline these and provide definitions for each.

  • Blindness is defined as a general term that includes those with low vision and legal blindness
  • Legal Blindness is a legal term that is defined as a person with visual acuity of no better than 20/200 with conventional correction and/or a restricted field of vision less than 20 degrees wide.
  • Low Vision describes vision that cannot be fully corrected by glasses, surgery, or assistive technology. This may also be referred to as partial blindness or partially sighted.
  • Total Blindness is used to describe a complete lack of light perception. This is a rare condition.
  • Visual Acuity is the measure of the ability of the eye to distinguish shapes and the details of an object at a given distance.
  • Vision Impairment is when a person's eyesight cannot be corrected to a "normal" level.

Selected Journals

Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness : Published by the American Foundation for the Blind, JVIB is a peer-reviewed journal for the field of blindness and visual impairment including current research, best practices, news, and commentary from experts in the field.

Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research : An open access journal published by the National Federation of the Blind, it features articles on the education of the blind, innovations, and techniques for blind independence. 

Journal of Vision : Published by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, this open access, peer-reviewed journal features articles regarding vision, disabilities regarding vision, and visual function in humans and other organisms.

British Journal of Visual Impairment : A peer-reviewed journal that focuses on research, education, health, welfare, employment, and technology in regard to the blind and visually impaired. You will need to login with your ISU credentials to view all content.