To read this content please select one of the options below:

Eye and vision problems associated with learning disabilities

J. Margaret Woodhouse (School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 7 August 2019

Issue publication date: 13 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to educate professionals, families and supporters about the importance of ensuring regular eye examinations for the people with learning disabilities.


This is a general review of the type and prevalence of visual problems of which people with learning disabilities are most at risk.


Eye problems in people with learning disabilities are common but are often over-looked.

Practical implications

Uncorrected refractive errors mean that people are unnecessarily denied experiences and learning opportunities. Spectacles are a simple solution, and most people can be supported to wear them. Cataracts and keratoconus are conditions that can lead to visual impairment, but which are now treatable and learning disabilities should not be a contra-indication to treatment. Untreatable eye conditions mean lifelong visual impairment, but if this is not recognised, care may be inappropriate or the learning disability assumed to be greater than it is.


The review describes how families and supporters can organise successful eye examinations, to ensure that no-one with learning disabilities has an eye condition that is not managed appropriately.



Woodhouse, J.M. (2019), "Eye and vision problems associated with learning disabilities", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 126-134.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles