Understanding vision impairment

​A vision impairment is a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses.  It may range from mild vision loss to total blindness.

A vision impairment can be identified by a standard vision test carried out by an ophthalmologist, optometrist or doctor. It includes a test for near, distance and peripheral vision.

If your child has a vision impairment they may need extra learning support or reasonable adjustments at school.

Different types of conditions may cause vision impairment.  These may​ include:

If you have concerns about your child’s vision, see your local optometrist or doctor. You may need to get your child assessed for a vision impairment.

Levels of vision impairment

If your child is partially sighted, they are likely to have plenty of useful vision. They may need some additional support and reasonable adjustments at school.

If your child has a severe vision loss, their vision may be in the range of legal blindness. A person is legally blind if they cannot see at six metres what a fully sighted person can see at 60 metres. 

Total blindness is where a person has no measurable or useful vision, and no light perception. 

If your child is legally or totally blind, they will need additional support and reasonable adjustments in the classroom, this may include:

  • alternative materials to access print – for example, braille
  • the teaching of additional skills so they can follow the general curriculum.

Types of vision impairment

Vision impairment can be stable or it can get worse over time. Conditions that affect your child’s vision can be congenital (from birth) or acquired as they get older.

Early diagnosis of vision impairment

Early identification of a vision impairment is important so that your child can get access to any support and/or treatment they may need.  This is also so that professionals can assess how the vision impairment may affect their education. 

The Raising Children Network provides information on signs to look for in your baby or child.

How a vision impairment may affect my child’s education

If your child has a vision impairment, they can still learn, achieve and reach their full potential.

They may require some additional assistance at school to minimise the impact of their vision loss.   Talk to your child’s teacher about reasonable adjustments and extra learning support that can be made to support your child’s participation.

The Visiting Teacher service and Statewide Vision Resource Centre can provide extra support to eligible students and their schools.