a blind young lady wearing black sunglasses and holding a white cane at a railway station.

Why do Blind People Wear Dark Sunglasses Even Though They Can’t See?

People who are blind or have low vision often have to face several questions regarding their condition (the reason behind their loss of vision) and blindness in general. These curious questions are often asked because sighted people find the world of blind people too different from theirs. In this series, we are answering the most common of these questions (curious ones not the stupid ones). We think the sighted community needs to be made aware and informed. Additionally, we strongly believe that you should not approach any blind person with your list of queries – it may be offending. Today we’re answering “Why do blind people wear dark glasses when they can’t see?”

Blind people have their good reasons for wearing dark glasses. But, before we tell you the reasons please allow us to pop a myth bubble for you. Most sighted people believe that all blind people wear dark glasses (even when indoors). This is a pure stereotype created by movies and media. Contrary to the general perception, a huge proportion of blind individuals do not wear dark glasses. Some of them wear dark glasses but only when going out on the bright sunny day. And, yes, then there are those who wear such glasses on regular basis.

Reasons: Why Blind Persons Wear Dark Glasses

1. Their eyes may be sensitive to light.

A blind person highly sensitive to bright lights (photophobic) may feel pain in their eyes and temple region due to bright light. This condition may also result in a burning sensation in the eyes or vibrating sound in the ears. Dark glasses obstruct bright light and thus are helpful in avoiding pain.

2. Unable to Track Their Eyes

Some blind individuals, especially those who are born blind, do not learn to track their eyes i.e. they don’t look in the direction of the person to whom they are talking. Though this should not be an issue, some blind people feel conscious due to this in any public setting. So, they may choose to wear dark glasses so that people cannot see that they are not tracking their eyes while talking to them.

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3. Both Eyes Unable to Point in the Same Direction

Similar to the previous point, people with lazy eyes i.e. the condition when both eyes do not point in the same direction, may wear dark glasses to hide their eyes. It is worth noting that many blind individuals are not self-conscious or feel embarrassed but they choose to wear dark glasses so that others don’t become uncomfortable while talking to them.

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4. Safety from UV Radiation

Dark colored sunglasses may also prevent Ultra-violet radiation from reaching person’s eyes. Eyes of many blind people are extra sensitive to UV radiation.

5. Reduction in Glare

A vast majority of legally blind individuals have a certain amount of vision or visual perception. For some of them, dark glasses can enhance vision by reducing glare and helping them focus more precisely.

6. Protection from Dirt etc.

Some blind people prefer to wear those glasses to save their eyes from some physical dangers like dust and small things (paper, twig, feather) blown off by the wind.

7. Let Others Know of Their Condition

In some cases, blind people wear dark sunglasses to let people around them know that they are blind. This is mostly done by blind people traveling to or visiting a place alone. Sighted people around them can adapt their behavior or offer help when needed.

We hope that now you can appreciate the need of dark glasses used by people with blindness. Raising awareness about all types of disabilities is one of the objectives of WeCapable. Let us know if you have any questions or you want to offer information in addition to our article.

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