Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Policy Analysis.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >


FloridaHealthFinder.gov

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education


Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Blindness and vision loss

Definition

Blindness is a lack of vision. It may also refer to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

  • Partial blindness means you have very limited vision.
  • Complete blindness means you cannot see anything and do not see light. (Most people who use the term "blindness" mean complete blindness.)

People with vision that is worse than 20/200 with glasses or contact lenses are considered legally blind in most states in the United States.

Vision loss refers to the partial or complete loss of vision. This vision loss may happen suddenly or over a period of time.

Some types of vision loss never lead to complete blindness.

Alternative Names

Loss of vision; No light perception (NLP); Low vision; Vision loss and blindness

Causes

Blindness has many causes. In the United States, the leading causes are:

The type of partial vision loss may differ, depending on the cause:

  • With cataracts, vision may be cloudy or fuzzy, and bright light may cause glare
  • With diabetes, vision may be blurred, there may be shadows or missing areas of vision, and difficulty seeing at night
  • With glaucoma, there may be tunnel vision and missing areas of vision
  • With macular degeneration, the side vision is normal but the central vision is slowly lost

Other causes of vision loss include:

Home Care

When you have low vision, you may have trouble driving, reading, or doing small tasks such as sewing or making crafts. You can make changes in your home and routines that help you stay safe and independent. Many services will provide you with the training and support you need to live independently.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Sudden vision loss is always an emergency, even if you have not completely lost vision. You should never ignore vision loss, thinking it will get better.

Contact an ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room immediately. Most serious forms of vision loss are painless, and the absence of pain in no way diminishes the urgent need to get medical care. Many forms of vision loss only give you a short amount of time to be successfully treated.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

A complete and thorough eye examination will be performed. The treatment will depend on the cause of the vision loss.

For long-term vision loss, see a low-vision specialist, who can help you learn to care for yourself and live a full life.

References

Kraut JA. Vision rehabilitation. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:chap 46.

Olitsky SE, Hug D, Smith LP. Disorders of Vision. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 613.

Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 431.

Review Date:9/2/2014
Reviewed By:Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No