Today my Inquizitive Mind wondered why do a majority of blind people wear sunglasses even when they are indoors. This is quite an intriguing question and it’s the time we solve the mystery.
First of all, it should be pointed out that not all blind people are completely blind. A majority of them have partial blindness though they can see poorly. In fact, American Foundation for Blindness defines blindness as:
“a level of vision loss that has been legally defined to determine eligibility for benefits. The clinical diagnosis refers to a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less. Often, people who are diagnosed with legal blindness still have some usable vision.”
The technical definition wouldn’t be making much sense to you but this “usable vision” point is noteworthy. It states that even people better sighted than the blind are distracted or disoriented by bright light, so sunglasses comes as an obvious solution.
Let’s look at the reasons why blind people wear sunglasses.
Reason 1: Filter out bright light, UV rays, and certain sensitive colors
Some of the blind people wear the common store bought sunglasses to filter out bright light and UV rays, while others wear the prescribed eyeshields that can filter certain colors theirs eyes are sensitive to. Even for a person with a correct vision, protecting eyes from the Ultra-Violet rays is of utmost importance. Overexposure to UV rays can potentially cause eye infections and diseases ranging from cataract to conjunctivitis. In some cases, it can even lead to ocular cancer.
It is extremely important for the blind to wear these sunglasses because they have little or no ability to detect whether their eyes are being bombarded with these harmful UV rays. They have no clue of the bright light entering their eyes and aren’t able to know if they need any protection or not. So falling prey to these eye infections is extremely likely if they don’t wear something protecting their eyes.
Reason 2: Protecting Eyes from physical dangers
Some blind people choose to wear these sunglasses as they solve an another purpose of protecting their eyes physically. Physical dangers like small objects blown by the wind, hanging items, open cupboard doors are extremely potent and sunglasses does well to act as eyeshields.
Reason 3: Signify that they are blind
As soon as you see a person wearing sunglasses indoors, you can most probably figure out that he is blind. Sunglasses serve as cues to identify a blind person even from a distance. Just like the white cane carried by many blind serves as a signal, sunglasses does the same thing.
Reason 4: To set the other person at ease during conversation
Some blind people wear sunglasses for the benefit of the others. People find it quite uncomfortable to communicate with a blind person while making eye contact. They sometimes feel awkward during conversations as the blind has difficulty in maintaining proper eye contact. These sunglasses solve the problem as now the blind just need face towards the person without worrying the necessity of eye contact.
Reason 5: Hid certain eye deformities
A lot of blind people have some or the other deformity in the eye. They may be scarred, shrunken or deformed in some way. It puts the other person to converse properly as he is constantly distracted by such deformity. So blind people wear sunglasses to look normal and put the other person at ease.
The future technology has advanced from the basic sunglasses to smart glasses. These smart glasses will be camera-enabled with headphones embedded in them. Vision Technologies has been beta testing these smart glasses for some time now and we hope they come out soon.