In the UK there are around 360,000 people registered ‘severely sight impairs’ or ‘visually impaired’ This isn’t a true picture, as registration is voluntary, with many not doing it for fear of their independence or for other reasons.
Of these, less that 6% of those registered have no ‘usable sight’ to destinguish shapes or movement. This is why registration was changed from ‘blind’ to ‘severely sight impaired’
I have less than 4% of my peripheral vision left, my distance is classed as ‘finger counting’ in layman a terms this means I can see a person holding up their fingers for me to count (but only if they are against a contrasting background, not their own face) at a distance of about 30cm, a ‘decently sighted person’ is said to be able to see this detail at a distance of about 50m.
As for movement, well that’s more difficult. If I am sat still under artificial light I can watch people and pick out the colouring of their clothes or hair, or my perception of it. This requires ‘Scanning’ to enable me to see the whole picture, this is a skill I have perfected when looking at my children.
if I am walking in the street though, I could miss my closest, dearest friend stood infront of me.
There is no pattern to what I do and do not see, it is completely dependant on many many factors. So being able to see something I saw yesterday for example, may be totally impossible today.
I can confuse those who know me the most with this, but when with those people, I am not shy or ashamed to ask for help. On the other hand, with others this is not always the case.
After all, I have a very stubborn streak in my personalising !!
Many peoples first question is “What can you see?” As I have always had bad vision this is one of the hardest questions to answer, I have never had ‘perfect’ sight …. But hopefully my description above helps a little?