Misconceptions About the Visually Impaired

One of the first points we want to make is that there are so many different variations of blindness. Not everyone is completely blind see below for a list of some examples.

  • Some people can see quite a lot (for a visually impaired¬† person) but are still classed as visually impaired. These people have tendencies to feel guilty accepting help and feel like if they’re visually impaired they shouldn’t be allowed to see as much as they can (as always this doesn’t apply to everyone).
  • Some people can just see a bit so shapes or blurs for example.
  • Some people just have light perception which is just being able to see light or dark.
  • Some people are completely blind (this does mean they can’t see anything at all including light). This doesn’t mean that they see black as commonly assumed. They just don’t have that sense at all (SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND AS A SIGHTED PERSON!).

As always this isn’t the only types there are so many varieties of visual impairment that it would be impossible to list them all but this gives you a small idea.


A common question that Jess gets is “Aww, are you his carer?”.


Visually impaired people do not necessarily need a carer! BIG MISCONCEPTION. So many people assume that Cal always needs a carer with him but in actual fact a lot (not all) of the time visually impaired individuals do not need a carer, Cal can manage quite well on his own.


Another frequent one is people thinking that Cal doesn’t know how to work his phone. Cal often has well meaning members of the public telling him that his phone is off. We find this hilarious but it is a common misconception. When Cal is using his phone the screen has what is known as a screen curtain on it. This means that the screen goes completely black but the phone still works as normal. Also, just to confirm visually impaired people can actually use phones. The screen can be magnified for people that require large text, and the phones can actually read out what is on the screen for individuals that can’t see enough for large text.


It is also another common misconception that people who are partially sighted have a cane, and people who are completely blind have a guide dog. Again not necessarily the case.

Many partially sighted people have guide dogs, just the same as many completely blind people have canes and are perfectly happy using them. There is no rule stating that completely blind people need a dog and partially sighted people can manage with a cane. And while we’re on this topic, if you see someone with a guide dog who also seems like they have quite a lot of sight, do not assume that they don’t need the dog. Guide dogs carry out very thorough assessments before they give anyone a guide dog, so it will have been decided by Guide Dogs that the dog is right for that person.


Again, on the subject of canes, the most common cane you will likely have seen is the long white cane, but there are actually three different types of canes that can be used by visually impaired people. Learn what they look like and what they mean at this blog post from Henshaws