Blindness implies a total or near-total loss of the ability to visually perceive form. A visual acuity of 20/200 is considered legally blind in Canada, meaning that one can see at 20 feet what a person with good vision can see at 200.
Visual impairment is a generic term applied for students whose visual acuity is not sufficient for participating with ease in everyday activities. Visual impairment covers a range of difficulties with vision including, but not limited to:
- A visual acuity of 6/21 (20/70) or less in the better eye after correction
- A visual field of 20 degrees or less
- A progressive eye disease with a prognosis of becoming one of the above in the next few years
- A visual problem or related visual stamina that is not correctable and that results in the student functioning as if his or her visual acuity is limited to 6/21 (20/70) or less.
All students seeking to register with the CAL must submit the Application for Services Form as well as supporting documentation, which must be filled out according to the guidelines below.
Supporting documentation: Verification of Visual Disability Form
Appropriate professional: ophthalmologist.
Documentation should include:
- The amount of residual vision present (e.g., visual acuity, colour vision deficits) and whether the disability is stable, progressive, or fluctuating
- The impact of the impairment on the student’s functioning in a university environment (e.g., the need for large print or special lighting)