The terms partially sighted, low vision, legally blind, and totally blind are used in the educational context to describe people with visual impairments. Visual impairment is the consequence of a functional loss of vision, rather than the eye disorder itself. Eye disorders which can lead to visual impairments can include retinal degeneration, albinism, cataracts, and glaucoma, muscular problems that result in visual disturbances, corneal disorders, diabetic retinopathy, congenital disorders, and infection.
A major challenge facing blind students at universities is the overwhelming mass of printed material with which they are confronted - syllabi, coursepacks, books, time schedules, bibliographies, campus newspapers, posters, tests, etc. The increasing use of films, videotapes, overhead projectors, and closed-circuit television adds to the volume of visual material they must access in an alternative way.