Visual Impairment

Cause and extent

Some people are born without eyesight, for example because of a genetic disorder. Others actually become partially sighted or blind at a later age, sometimes even suddenly as the result of an accident. What the blind and visually impaired have in common is that they are limited in their freedom of movement.

In The Netherlands, more than 320,000 people have a serious visual impairment, which is about 4% of the population. This number has increased in recent years, inter alia because people are living longer and because there has been an increase in the number of diabetes patients. What’s more, diabetes is the main cause of blindness in Europe.

An estimated 76,000 people in Holland are blind. The criterion for blindness is that a person has a visual acuity of less than 0.05 in the better eye, or that the field of vision is limited to less than 10 degrees. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that one doesn’t see anything at all! Sometimes the difference between light and dark can still be discerned. Very common eye ailments are retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and cataracts. To experience the difference, the Bartimeus consultancy has developed the ‘Zien’ App that can be downloaded for free on your mobile or iPad.