Understanding visual impairment

There are many different types of vision loss, ranging from mild vision impairment to total blindness. These can be caused by various conditions and diseases, including as the result of an accident. 

A person with vision impairment or low vision does have some vision, however their vision loss is severe enough to affect their ability to perform vocational, recreational and/or social tasks. Vision of this nature can’t usually be corrected to normal vision by regular glasses. A person who is totally blind has no measurable or useable vision, and no light perception. Legally blind is a term used by government to identify people who are eligible for special benefits and services. 

  Facts about visual impairment 

  • It is estimated there are over 575,000 people who are blind or vision impaired currently living in Australia, with more than 70 per cent over the age of 65 and over 66,000 people who are blind. 

  • Visual conditions in children may be present at birth, or occur at any time from disease or accident or be part of a medical condition or syndrome. 

  • It is estimated that four out of 10,000 children born in Australia will be diagnosed with severe vision impairment. 

What are the symptoms of visual impairment?

In babies: 

  • eyes move quickly from side to side (nystagmus), jerk or wander randomly 

  • eyes don’t follow your face or an object, or they don’t seem to make eye contact 

  • eyes don’t react to bright light being turned on in the room 

  • turn or tilt their head or cover one eye when looking closely at things 

  • tired after reading, drawing or playing handheld games 

  • better vision during the day 

  • crossed or turned eyes or a squint (lazy eye) 

  • seem clumsy – for example, knocking things over or tripping often. 


In older children: 

  • hold things up close to their face 

  • frequent tiredness/eye rubbing 

  • pupils seem white or cloudy rather than black 

  • eyes don’t appear straight but turn towards the nose or drift outwards. 

How can CPL help?

No matter where you are on your journey, we are ready to help you achieve your goals. Our services aim to support people to reach their full potential through:  

For more information about how we can support you with visual impairment, visit our services page, call us on 1800 275 753 or send an online enquiry

Vision Impairment
Guide To Disabilities: Assessment Diagnosis Vision Impairment