Visual Impairment Glossary

Vision impairment and blindness, its causes, and assistive resources come with a huge range of terminology. Browse our glossary to learn the meanings of these terms. 

Fingers type on a BrailleNote touch
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Braille Code

This is a system of writing and printing for the blind in which arrangements of raised dots representing letters and numbers are identified by touch.

Braille Dymo Labeller

Braille Dymo Labeller is a portable Braille labeller.
The upper rim of the dial is brailled, the lower rim shows the standard print alphabet.

Braille Paper

A special kind of paper that is designed to be have braille printed (embossed) on it. The paper is thicker and sturdier than regular print paper.

Braille Tracking Sheet

Rows of braille dots (not necessarily actual letters) to encourage the ability to follow lines of braille accurately and detect changes in the pattern.

Braille Transcription

Braille transcription changes information from a print textbook into a braille version so that a student who is blind or has low vision gets the same benefits from the information as his or her sighted peers.


Compact and portable devices used by a student to take notes in class using either a braille. They can be used by braille learners to read books, write assignments, find directions, record lectures, and listen to podcasts. When connected to a monitor they display the print version of the braille being typed, allowing a non-braille reader to access the document.

A BrailleNote is a computer made by Human Ware for people with visual impairment. It has a braille keyboard, speech synthesizer, and a 32- or 18-column refreshable Braille display, depending on model.


Plastic round or square bumps that are used to mark items such as keyboard keys, phones etc. They are added to items that need to be felt more easily for those with visual acuity difficulties or who are blind.


Canaan Barrie

Canaan Barrie signs involve touching - on the body or hands - or movements close to the child.
Canaan Barrie is a system of communication through movement and touch, for children with multiple disabilities and a visual impairment who cannot communicate verbally or through traditional sign language.
The language was created by Mary Lee, a teacher at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, along with her former colleague Lindi McWilliam.

Contrast Sensitivity

Contrast sensitivity is an important measure of visual function, especially in situations of low light, fog or glare, when the contrast between objects and their background often is reduced.

Cortical Visual Impairment

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) refers to visual problems a child or adult may experience due to damage to the parts of the brain that deal with vision.  CVI can be referred to as 'Cerebral Visual Impairment', 'Cognitive Visual Impairment' or 'Visual Processing Disorder'.

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