According to the American Foundation for the Blind, the term legally blind denotes a person with 20/200 visual acuity or less. Therefore, blind or legally blind is acceptable for people with almost complete vision loss. Many people with vision loss are not considered blind. The foundation recommends that unless the person refers to himself or herself as legally blind, the terms low vision, limited vision or visually impaired should be used.
Use the term blind only when the person has complete loss of sight and the term legally blind when the person has almost complete loss of sight. Other terms also may be acceptable. It is best to ask the person which term he or she prefers and take that into consideration. Commonly used terms include:
- Limited vision: Acceptable when a person is not legally or completely blind
- Low vision: Acceptable when a person is not legally or completely blind
- Partially sighted: Used most often in British publications but acceptable if a person is not legally or completely blind
- Visually impaired: This general term describes a wide range of visual functions, from low vision to total blindness. It is generally considered acceptable, although, as with the term hearing impaired, some may object to it because it describes the condition in terms of a deficiency.REFERENCE: NCDJ Style Guide