Sociocultural aspects of blindness in an Egyptian delta hamlet: visual impairment vs. visual disability

Med Anthropol. 1993 Aug;15(3):245-60. doi: 10.1080/01459740.1993.9966093.


Through ophthalmological exams, structured interviews and participant observation, this study examines the experience of blindness in rural Egypt, and finds that villagers' subjective assessments of their vision differ substantially from ophthalmic measurements of their vision. Individuals with profound visual loss remain independent in their daily activities and contribute to their families' subsistence. While they may agree that they have "weak eyesight," they do not perceive themselves to be disabled. Stigmatizing attitudes that the blind are completely dependent and unable to fulfill their social roles further encourage those with decreased vision to deny the extent of their visual loss.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Blindness / psychology*
  • Child
  • Culture
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population
  • Self Concept
  • Vision, Low / psychology*
  • Visual Acuity