Blindness: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/26/2021

The term blindness strictly refers to the state of being totally sightless in both eyes, and a completely blind individual is unable to see at all. However, the term blindness, however, is also commonly used as a relative term to signify visual impairment that cannot be corrected with surgery, medication, or glasses.

Symptoms of total blindness include the lack of sight in both eyes. Symptoms of relative blindness can include

  • cloudy vision,
  • an inability to see shapes,
  • seeing only shadows,
  • poor night vision, or
  • tunnel vision.

Causes of blindness

There are numerous causes of blindness. It can be present at birth, or it may develop as a result of conditions, including diabetes, injuries or trauma to the eyes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, infections of the eyes, stroke, retinitis pigmentosa, poisoning, and hereditary diseases of the eyes.

Other blindness symptoms and signs

  • Cloudy Vision
  • Inability to See Shapes
  • Lack of Sight in Both Eyes
  • Poor Night Vision
  • Seeing Only Shadows
  • Tunnel Vision


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.