Braille: Helping the Blinds and Visually Impaired


Brail system is developed for visually impaired people. Generally writing systems are the visual representation that is used to share our feelings and communicate with each other. Many types of communication were followed from the early times. Braille is one such system of communication. In such systems, the conveyer and the reader should be able to understand. Braille is useful for understanding the visually impaired. Braille was embraced by France as the formal communication system for the visually impaired in 1854.

Who is called Visually Impaired?

Visual impairment or vision impairment is the reduction of eyesight to some distance. The visually impaired are also called vision impaired. This impairment cannot be corrected with the use of eyeglasses, lenses and surgery, and medications. Visually impaired means they have low vision. Around 80% of vision impairment can be prevented and cured by treatment.


Vision impairment also called blindness, is the inability to see things or light. Blindness can be classified into three colour blindness, night blindness, and snow blindness. A person with regular vision can see from 200 feet away but a legally blind person can see only from 20 feet away. The symptoms of blindness include poor night vision, cloudy vision, and the inability to see things. Different levels of vision impairments are partially blind, low vision, legally blind, and blind.

Causes of Blindness

Blindness may be caused due to many factors. These factors may be genetic or accidental. Five eye conditions cause blindness. They are Glaucoma, Cataracts, Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and Retinitis pigmentosa.


There is an optic nerve in our eye that passes information to the brain. Damage occurring in this optic nerve with pressure is called Glaucoma. This damage increases the aqueous humor liquid formation and increases the pressure in the eye.


If the lens in our eye is clouded then it is called a cataract. The light which enters the eye and focuses on the retina is a blurred image. It feels like looking through a dirty window mirror. Some fog or mist-like thing blocks the image. Colours are also not clear as before.

Macular Degeneration

It is an age-related impairment in vision. It is a disease that blurs central vision. There is a part macula in the retina which helps to make sharp images. Damage in this part causes macular degeneration. Mostly this happens in adults. It will not cause complete blindness but it makes it difficult to identify people, read, drive, etc.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic patients can be affected by this type. Blood vessels in the retina get affected and cause vision loss. Maintaining the diabetic level by taking medicines, doing exercise, and eating healthy will prevent the eye from diabetic retinopathy.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic eye disease that occurs by birth. It is a rare eye disease that affects the retina. Symptoms are night time vision trouble and peripheral vision decrease. Retinitis pigmentosa cannot be cured.

What is Braille?

Braille is not a language. It is a code used by blind people to read and write languages without seeing. It is specifically made for the blind, who have low vision and are deafblind.

As they cannot see they touch this pattern and can learn and communicate. Louis Braille, a Frenchman, developed the code for the blind in 1824 at his fifteenth age. Braille is a code language that can be used to express many languages like English, French, Spanish, Italian, etc.

Braille symbols are formed in a cell containing six raised dots. These six dots are arranged in two parallel lines each containing three dots. Sixty-four combinations include no dot to denote space.

Braille Script A to Z

Braille includes different grades as grade 1,grade 2,and grade 3. Grade 1 is used in the alert study of braille. It contains 26 the alphabet of the English language. Grade 2 is used in books to save pages. Grade 3 is normally used for personal notes and diaries because it is like a shorthand. Alphabets are configured in grade 1. There are six dots in the cell in which they are 1,dot 2,dot 3,dot 4,dot 5 and dot 6. In this script, the alphabet is represented by using some patterns.

From a to j it is the simplest pattern. In braille a is represented by dot 1, b by dot 1 and 2, etc are given in the table below.

AlphabetBraille dot
b1, 2
c1, 4
d1, 4, 5
e1, 5
f1, 2, 4
g1, 2, 4, 5
h1, 2, 5
i2, 4
j2, 4, 5

Table -1: Braille patterns for letters a to j

For k to t Braille patterns are formed by adding dot 3 to the patterns formed for a to j For example: For a it is denoted by dot 1 by adding a dot 3 to that the pattern for k formed as dot 1,3 and so on.

AlphabetBraille dot
k1, 3
l1, 2, 3
m1, 3, 4
n1, 3, 4, 5
o1, 3, 5
p1, 2, 3, 4
q1, 2, 3, 4, 5
r1, 2, 3, 5
s2, 3, 4
t2, 3, 4, 5

Table -2: Braille patterns for letters k to t

For u to z Braille patterns are formed by adding dot 6 to the patterns formed for k to t.

Example: For k it is denoted by dot 1 to 3 by adding a dot 6 to that the pattern for u formed as dot 1,3,6 and so on. This is applicable except for w. It has its own different pattern as dot 2,4,5,6.

AlphabetBraille dot
u1, 3, 6
v1, 2, 3, 6
w2, 4, 5, 6
x1, 3, 4, 6
y1, 3, 4, 5, 6
z1, 3, 5, 6

Table -3: Braille patterns for letters u to z

These combinations are used to denote small letters. To denote the capital letter dot 6 is included before the small letter. Numeric from 1 to 9 are denoted by a to i and zero by j.

DIPF, Braille alphabet, CC BY-SA 3.0

Uses of Braille

By touching the braille symbols blind people can easily find the letters and they can study. These symbols were also used in day-to-day life applications that blind people could handle on their own. Also, it is used in watches, keyboards, music notes, and even in Rubik cubes.


Vision is the ability to see. If an inability occurs it denotes vision impairment. Blindness occurs due to factors. It may be due to genetics or accidentally. Some impairments can be cured. Few of them cannot be cured. To make such people study, Louis Braille introduced the pattern called braille. It helps blind people to study and communicate. The patterns for each letter of the alphabet were discussed in this article.


Q1. What is the function of the retina?

Ans. Retina is a sensitive tissue at the backside of the eye which receives the light and sends it to the brain. In this, there is tissue called the macula which is used for fine and sharp vision.

Q2. What is known as colour blindness?

Ans. There are two light-sensitive cells in the retina. They are cone cells and rod cells. Rod cells sense lowlights and cone cells sense normal and high lights and are responsible for sensing colour. If these cells are affected then the person fails to identify different colours i.e., they are unable to identify the colours. This is known as colour blindness.

Q3. Explain the two Types of Glaucoma.

Ans. Glaucoma can be classified into many. The most common is open-angle glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma. In both cases, the optic nerve in the eye gets damaged. Due to the level of fluid segregation, the pressure in the eye changes. In the former one the pressure is high and in the latter one pressure is low.

Q4. How to lower the risk of AMD?

Ans. To lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration the following healthy habits should be followed. Taking healthy food, doing exercise, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and stopping smoking are factors that can reduce the risk of AMD.

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023


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