Helpful Hints

Do you have questions about how to behave around people who are visually impaired or blind? Check out our tips for sighted people working and socializing with people who have vision loss.


Video: How to Help Someone With Vision Loss

Informational video offering guidance on different ways of helping individuals who have a visual impairment.


In many cases, the individual with the visual impairment is the best guide on how to behave. Communicating openly with one another can help in learning preferences.



You may also find the following tips helpful:

  • Talk directly to people who are visually impaired, not through a sighted companion.
  • Give verbal feedback to indicate you are listening.
  • Don’t give unwanted assistance - offer help when it seems to be needed.
  • Speak in a normal volume unless you know the person has difficulty hearing and requested that you speak louder; a vision loss alone does not require raising voices.
  • Announce your arrival and departures. Be sure to inform the person that you are walking away so that they do not continue speaking as if you were still there.
  • When entering a room full of people along with someone who is visually impaired, it is helpful to identify the people in the room if you can.
  • When giving directions or describing the location of an object; do not point or say, “It’s over there”, or “It’s on the  table.” Be specific, or (with permission) guide the person’s hand to touch the object.
  • Don’t rearrange the belongings of a person who is blind. Always put things back where you found them.
  • Offer to identify food on a plate by relating it to numbers on a clock face. The clock directions may also be used as guides for other types of object references in relation to the person.
  • Be patient. Some people who are visually impaired may eat more slowly, walk more slowly, etc. 
  • Maintain a positive and encouraging attitude. “Feeling sorry” is counterproductive. Conversely, trivializing feelings and expressions of frustration when someone is struggling can also be counterproductive.
  • Don’t be overprotective. Encourage self-sufficiency.
  • Offer an option that allows and encourages the person who is blind to make their own decision even if you think is not the best solution.


The manner in which people who are visually impaired are treated may contribute to the success of their quest for personal independence. When in doubt, ask the person who is visually impaired how they want things done.


A personal belief system can affect the way you think about and treat other people. Examine your own personal belief system in regard to how you feel about people who are blind. Make sure your beliefs are not going to have a negative effect on individuals with a visual impairment.