University of Edinburgh

Visual Impairment Scotland Report

Glossary of terms and definitions

Aetiology describes the cause and time of acquiring a visually impairing condition.

Blind and Partial sight registration: BP1 form recommended criteria
The recommended criteria for registration as blind or partially sighted in Scotland, as described on the BP1 certification form includes a visual acuity of worse than 6/60 or marked contraction of the fields regardless of visual acuity.

Blindness: BP1 form definition
The BP1 form definition of blindness is to be so blind as to be unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential.

BP1 form
The form used by ophthalmologists to certify that a child is blind or partially sighted.

Cerebral Vision Impairment (CVI)
Difficulty with vision predominantly due to a condition of the brain.

The process of completing a BP1 form after assessing and confirming that a child is blind or partially sighted.

Close Circuit Television (CCTV)
A CCTV is a video camera connected to a monitor. The camera usually has a zoom feature, which allows the user to magnify anything placed in the cameras view.

Cognitive Visual Dysfunction (CVD)
Specific symptoms and difficulties with visual function due to a condition of the brain.

Community Paediatrician
Community paediatricians are childrens doctors who are experts in child development and how ill health and disability can affect children. They usually work in community based child development centres, family doctor health centres and schools. The often act as the link between all the different professionals who are involved with children with visual impairment.

The cornea is the curved window at the front of the eye. Along with the lens the cornea focuses light onto the back of the eye.

Educational Psychologist
Is a person, usually employed by the Local Education Authority (LEA), whose training and experience focuses on using psychological theory to assess children with learning difficulties then advise on their development and educational progress.

Inclusive Education
Commitment to educate children with special educational needs in mainstream schools wherever possible

The iris is the most anterior part of the uvea. It is a circular muscle that surrounds the pupil and gives the eye its colour.

Learning difficulty
Learning difficulty is said to be present if a child has greater difficulty in learning than the majority of other children of their age.

The lens sits just behind the iris. Its purpose is to accurately focus light on to the retina.

Low Vision Aid (LVA)
A low vision aid is a device that improves vision or helps overcome poor vision. There is no single aid that magically restores normal vision in all circumstances. Most children will need different aids for different purposes. There are two main types of low vision aid: optical devices such as hand held magnifiers for near work or telescopes for seeing in the distance and non-optical aids such as large print books and audio tapes.

Mainstream School
A school that caters for all pupils, including those with special educational needs.

NORDSYN Visual Function Groups
The NORDSYN Visual Function Classification System (modified by VIS) NORDSYN Group Verbal Description Best Binocular Visual Acuity

O:Normal/Subnormal Vision: Better than (but not including) 6/18

A:Low Vision: Equal to or worse than 6/18 to (but not including) 6/60

B:Social Blindness: Equal to or worse than 6/60 to (but not including) 1/60

C:Near Total Blindness: Equal to or worse than 1/60

D:Total Blindness: No perception of light Children with visual field loss are reclassified into the next higher group but are not moved from Group C to D.

A further VIS modification to this system is to move children with cognitive visual dysfunction in Group O into Group A.

Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists help children to overcome physical or social problems due to illness or disability, by concentrating not on what children are unable to do, but on what they may be able to achieve. They are skilled in adapting a childs environment so that they can keep doing particular tasks safely and independently.

An ophthalmologist is a person who has qualified as a doctor and specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. They can prescribe spectacles and drugs. Most ophthalmologists will perform surgery although they may specialise in different types of surgery.

An optician is a person who makes spectacles based on a prescription. He or she can decide on the best type of lens and spectacle frame to suit the individual. Optometrists and opticians often work together.

An optometrist is a person who examines eyes to see if spectacles will improve vision. He or she can measure visual acuity and pressure within the eye. By using specialised equipment an optometrist can also perform a full examination of all the different parts of the eye. Some optometrists may also recommend and prescribe drops to treat eye conditions. Optometrists write a spectacle prescription that is given to the patient and passed on to an Optician.

Optic Nerve
Each photoreceptor in the retina sends its signals down very fine wires to the brain. The optic nerve is the collection of wires that joins the eye to the brain.

An orthoptist is a person who assesses vision and eye movements. They use methods of assessing vision that are most suitable for young children. They can assess squints and patients complaining of double vision. They usually work in eye clinics with ophthalmologists.

Partial Sight: BP1 form definition
The BP1 form definition of partial sight is to be substantially and permanently handicapped by congenitally defective vision.

A physiotherapist is a health care professional who assesses physical function and helps to restore and maintain as normal a function as possible.

Tiny light sensitive patches (photoreceptors) cover the back of the eye.The covering of photoreceptors at the back of the eye makes a thin film called theretina. It acts a bit like the film in a camera.

Record of Needs (RoN)
A Record of Needs is a legal document that describes the long-term educational strategy for children with special educational needs. It has defined aims and objectives with a description of how and where educational provision should be made.

A child becomes registered blind or partially sighted once the local social work or visual impairment society receives a completed BP1 form and adds the childs details to the register.

Special Educational Needs
Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which requires the provision of special types of schooling.

Special School
A school that specialises in catering for children with special educational needs.

Speech and Language Therapist
Speech and language therapists work with children whom have problems with speech development helping them overcome their communication difficulties. They also can assess and manage difficulties with eating and swallowing.

Significant Visual Impairment: VISs definition for this report

  • A best corrected binocular visual acuity equal to or worse than 6/18 (or equivalent) or
  • Any form of visual field loss or
  • An eye movement disorder which affects visual function or
  • Any form of cognitive visual dysfunction due to disorders of the vision parts of the brain.

Target Population for VIS Report
Any child under the age of 16 years.

An internal layer of the eye that contains nerves and blood vessels. The iris is the most anterior part of the uvea.

Visual Impairment Scotland (VIS)
A project, originally financed by a grant from the Scottish NHS Innovations Fund, to pilot a new notification system for children with visual impairment throughout all areas of Scotland.

VISKIDSstands for Visual Impairment Scotland, Knowledge, Information, Development, Service. Children with visual impairment who are notified to VIS can join.

Visual Acuity
A measure of how sharp or clear vision is.

Visual Field
The area over which someone can notice an object without moving their eyes or head.

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