Understanding Visual Impairment

  • How is Visual Impairment defined?

    Visual impairment is a condition that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both low vision and blindness.

    How is a Visual Impairment identified?

    To meet eligibility criteria in Oregon a student must have two assessments: 

    1. an examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist which indicates
      • The child has a visual impairment that is uncorrectable by medical treatment, therapy or lenses, OR
      • The vision examination results are inconclusive and the child demonstrates inadequate use of residual vision
    2. a functional vision assessment by a teacher of the visually impaired

    A Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) conducts a functional vision assessment (FVA) to evaluate how a student uses vision to perform routine tasks in a variety of real-world situations.

    For students age 3 and above, the TVI will also conduct a Learning Media Assessment (LMA) to identify the best modality by which the student will read and access the curriculum. Learning media include print; braille; audio; and systems that use pictures, symbols, or objects. 

    The TVI will then gather with the school team, including the parents, to review the results of the evaluations and determine if:

    1. The child’s visual impairment, even with correction, has an adverse impact on the student’s educational performance or developmental progress; and
    2. The child needs special education services.