Understanding vision impairment and deafblindness

Understanding what it can be like to have a vision impairment or deafblindness can really help you to feel more confident about how to support blind, partially sighted and deafblind students. Keep reading to find out some of the key things to know…

Being blind or partially sighted means a person’s vision is significantly reduced or impaired. This may cause blurriness or difficulty focusing, patches of missing vision, or reduced depth or light perception.

Logo explaining deaf blindness with two circles one is blue, and reads hearing impairment, the other yellow and reads sight impairment in the middle of this in green it reads deafblindness


Deafblindness, also referred to as ‘dual sensory loss’ or ‘dual sensory impairment’, is the loss of sight and hearing to the point where your communication, mobility and ability to access information are impacted.



Sight and hearing loss can be something the person is born with or experience later in life. The severity of the condition may stay fixed or be ‘progressive’ where sight/hearing deteriorates over a period of time. The amount of sight/hearing a person has can vary over a wide spectrum, affecting individuals in different ways. However, many people are able to see/ hear something, even if it is relatively little.

Vision impairment and deafblindness are low incidence disabilities, meaning they impact a relatively small percentage of the population. This can mean you may never have met someone who is blind, partially sighted or deafblind before and might be unsure what to say, or if you should offer any help or support.

To help, here is some handy information, common misconceptions and insights into what it is like to have vision impairment or deafblindness.

A lesson in vision impairment

In this insightful blog, Elin William details some of the things she wishes more people knew about living with a sight condition.

Read the blog here


Journalist, presenter, disability activist and social media star, Lucy Edwards’ fun videos provide great insight into living with a vision impairment.

Check out her Instagram account and #HowDoesABlindGirl video series to find out more!

What do we see?

Want to see through the eyes of someone living with a sight condition? Our What do we see video simulates a range of conditions and their impact. It is a great way to start to understand what it can be like to be blind or partially sighted. Watch now!

A transcript for this video can be downloaded here

Find out more about deafblindness

Want to understand more about what it is like to be deafblind? Jack and Molly share their experiences, and key things they wish more people knew.

Check out their videos…


Check out the other great Uni In Sight resources...

Living at University

Discover top tips to help overcome the challenges of living at university. Aimed at blind and partially sighted students and their housemates.

Find out more about 'Living at University'

Getting Involved in Sports

Find out how you can get involved in sports at university and how they can be made accessible for blind and partially sighted students!

Find out more about 'Getting Involved in Sports'

Reaching Out and Learning From Each Other

Learn from each other to make the university experience better for everyone. Advice and guidance for blind, partially sighted and deafblind students and the people around them.

Find out more about 'Reaching Out and Learning From Each Other'

Getting Out and About at University

Find out how blind and partially sighted students can be supported to get out and about during their time at university.

Find out more about 'Getting Out and About at University'
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