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Facts about Blindness

Simple Definition of Legal Blindness

Visual acuity less than 20/200 

AND/OR a visual field of 20 degrees or less 1

70% of Blind Working-age Adults are Unemployed

Full-time employment opportunities for blind working age adults in the US remain low. 2

111,000 in Maryland are Blind

Number of individuals in Maryland who are blind 3

This equals the same number of students in Baltimore County Public Schools 4

Drivers Must Yield Right of Way

All 50 states plus DC have laws that require drivers to yield the right of way to a person traveling with a white cane.

Only Blind and Low Vision People May Carry a White Cane

You see more blind people today walking alone because we have learned how to make our own way in the world. Independent travel is a skill that unlocks the doors to personal freedom.

Courtesy Rules about Blindness

The following are some simple and straightforward pointers which encourage people to feel comfortable with people who are blind or low vision:

  • I’m an ordinary person who just happens to be blind or have low vision.
  • If you think I might need help, just ask me.
  • You don’t need to raise your voice; I can hear you just fine.
  • Talk to me directly, not through someone else.  Don’t ask my friend, ‘does she want cream with her coffee?’
  • I may use a long white cane or a guide dog to walk independently.  Or, I may ask to take your arm.  Let me decide.  Please do not just grab my arm.
  • I would like to know who is in the room with me.  Please speak to me when you enter and introduce me to the others (including children).
  • A partially opened door to a cabinet, car, room, or appliance can be a hazard to me.  Please close doors or let me know if they are partially opened.
  • I have no trouble with ordinary table skills.  I will ask if I need assistance.  Please let me know verbally if you are passing an item to me.
  • No need to avoid words like “see.”  I use them, too.  I’m always glad to “see” you and I enjoy “watching” television.
  • I don’t want pity.  Please don’t talk about the “wonderful compensations” of blindness.  My senses didn’t improve, I’ve learned to rely on them differently.
  • If I am your guest, please show me around.  I’d like to know the location of different areas and rooms, including the bathroom.
  • I will discuss blindness with you and am happy to answer questions if you’re curious, but it’s an old story to me.  I have as many other interests as you do.
  • It’s okay to use the word blind because it is okay to be blind!