Blindness denotes the condition of a total loss of vision with the inability to distinguish light from darkness in both eyes. In other words, blindness is the state of being unable to see. This is contrasted against vision impairment wherein one’s vision is less than perfect but can be correctable or improved through the use of glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgical intervention. Currently, almost one million Canadians suffer from blindness for which there is no cure. In response, Canada has a Disability Tax Credit for Blindness available for those with this condition.
What Causes Blindness?
Patients suffering from blindness fall into two categories: 1) They were born blind;
OR 2) they developed blindness after birth due to injury, disease, or other condition.
These are some of the many causes of blindness:
- In developed nations, the leading causes of blindness include complications from diabetes, traumatic injuries, and macular degeneration.
- In third-world countries, the principal causes of blindness include injuries, cataracts, and glaucoma.
- Vitamin A deficiencies, blood vessel constrictions involving the retina, stroke, retinitis, congenital deficiencies, hereditary diseases, and chemical poisonings can lead to blindness.
- Infections such as trachoma, river blindness, leprosy, and herpes simplex, also cause blindness.
For those suffering from blindness in one or both eyes, it is important to recognize that every case is different. No two circumstances are exactly the same, which makes it difficult to definitively say what caused a particular state of blindness. Regardless of the specific cause, Canadians have the option of completing a Disability Tax Credit for Blindness application to see if they qualify for assistance.
What are the Treatments and Prognoses for Blindness?
Some blindness issues can be treated and corrected while others cannot and are permanent. The root cause of a particular case of blindness certainly effects and predicates the type of treatment available. For instance, those suffering from blindness due to nutritional causes can often be assisted by a prescribed dietary change. Those suffering from cataracts can have corrective surgery, and blindness caused by infection can often be treated medically with eye drops and pills.
The prognosis for blindness is also varied due to the cause. Blindness due to disease, injury, stroke or optic nerve damage cannot usually be restored. However, patients who have optical scarring or cataracts can have a positive prognosis if timely surgical care is made available.
Disability Tax Credit for Blindness and Other Support
Patients suffering from untreatable blindness must take specific considerations into account as it pertains to living with this condition. Life without the ability to see causes obvious complications. However, the modern world offers specific technologies, programs, and other methods of support to assist those suffering from blindness. Some of these include:
- Visual aids, such as text-reading software and Braille books, that allow for reading.
- Seeing-eye dogs and the simple use of a cane allow for the ability to navigate outside of the home.
- Specially trained rehabilitation experts, teachers, and others suffering from blindness, offer education and tips for living without sight.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind provides support for the blind to assist them in increasing their independence. The Canadian government also offers a Disability Tax Credit for Blindness to help with the expenses of special care and assistance to help blind people cope with the condition. Though blindness is a serious handicap, there are sufficient techniques and strategies made available so that individuals dealing with blindness can continue to live a full and rich life.
Learn more at the CNIB website