What Do Blind People Actually See?

What do blind people actually see? Its common for people with sight to ponder what do blind people actually see? There isn’t a one size fits all answer for blindness as there are different degrees of vision loss.

Blind From Birth

A person who is totally blind cannot say they see black as they have never seen black before.

“it’s just nothingness” = Samuel (born blind)

It is easier for a sighted person to think of it like this. Close one eye and use the open eye to focus on an object. What does the closed eye see? – Nothing.

People who have lost their sight have different experiences, some see total darkness. Some may see sparks or vivid hallucinations from some shapes or light flashes.

 There is total blindness and functional blindness. Functional blindness varies in different countries. In South Africa, it refers to visual impairment where vision in the better eye with glasses is lower than 20/200.

The WHO defines blindness as having vision in the best eye corrected to lower than 20/500.

Legally Blind

Legally blind people are able to see large objects and figures in an out of focus way. They may see color or see at certain distances. In some cases, colour acuity is lost or foggy. The experience is highly variable. Some see neon specks that move and change colour.

Light perception is when a person still has light perception and cant form clear images, but can tell when the lights are on or off.

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel vision may be relatively normal, but within a certain radius only. A person with tunnel vision can only see objects within a cone of less than 10 degrees.  

Blind people have dreams

A blind person does dream but cannot see images. Dreams include sounds, odors, flavors and feelings.