Sensorial disability

Definition of the handicap situation in France

In France, law number 102 adopted on February 11, 2005, known as for equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship for people with disabilities, thus defines the concept of disability :

“A disability constitutes any limitation of activity or restriction of participation in life in society suffered in his environment by a person due to a substantial, lasting or definitive impairment of one or more physical, sensory, mental, cognitive or psychic, polyhandicap or a debilitating health disorder. ”

The concept of disability is not limited to a health problem or a physical disability but takes into account all the limitations of participation in civic and social life. It is therefore a complex phenomenon which depends on the interaction between a person’s physical, sensory and / or mental characteristics and the characteristics of the society in which they live.

Visual impairment in theory

In its eleventh version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), the World Health Organization (WHO) defines visual impairment in two ways:

  • impairment affecting far vision:
    • mild, that is to say with corrected visual acuity less than 6/12,
    • moderate, i.e. with corrected visual acuity less than 6/18,
    • severe, i.e. with corrected visual acuity less than 6/60,
    • blindness, that is to say with a corrected visual acuity of less than 3/60,
  • the impairment affecting near vision, that is to say with visual acuity less than N6 or N8 at 40 cm with the existing correction.

Visual impairment in practice

These definitions are very technical. How can I explain this more simply?

Visual acuity is the resolving power of the eye. In France, visual acuity is expressed by a number of “tenths” or a fraction. For example “3/10” is said to be “three tenths”.

To assess visual acuity known as “from afar”, by convention, one places oneself 6 meters (20 feet) from a panel on which letters are inscribed. The smaller the letters written, the more difficult it is to read them.

The various ratios expressed (6/18, 3/60, …) indicate the difficulty in reading these letters as a function of the distance: the closer this ratio is to 1, the better the visual acuity from afar. For example, a sharpness of ten tenths (10/10) means very good eyesight. Conversely, the closer this ratio is to 0, the more this means that the visual acuity from afar is weak. Thus, a visual acuity of 3/60 (which corresponds to 0.5 / 10 or 0.5 tenth) expresses a very weak visual acuity.

Close visual acuity follows the same principle but with a reading distance of 40 cm on the screen.

What you must remember

Visual impairment affects 1 in 7 people worldwide, to varying degrees. It corresponds to more or less serious vision difficulties and has consequences for the person’s activity and their participation in life in society.