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Every person has a right to information and that is why Lizie dan la main is committed to providing information on relevant topics, to help the visually handicapped.  Through 35 years of providing care to the visually handicapped, we have gathered information and experience which we would like to share with others.


Our sight is a most precious sense and it is estimated that four-fifths of our sensory input comes to us through our eyes. We use our eyesight all day long without having to make any conscious effort and this makes us take good vision for granted. We tend to forget that good vision is really an extraordinary achievement as our eyes have to focus on the object of attention, follow it, regulate the amount of light, analyse colours, give us depth perception, retrieve from memory what we are looking at, and all that is done in a matter of a fraction of a second. This is truly remarkable. Let us first see how the eye works.

How the eye works ?

The Eye

Light reflected off objects around you enters the eye through its front window, the cornea, which with the lens focuses the light through the pupil (the black central hole in the iris) onto the retina. The focused image of the outside world so formed is captured by millions of light-sensitive receptors, the rods and cones, which convert it into nerve signals. Those are transmitted along the optic nerve to the sight areas of the brain (the visual cortex) for decoding into the sensation of sight, that is the nervous signals are converted back into an image of our surroundings.

The only definition that we have is the requisite for a Basic Invalidity Pension (BIP). For a person to be eligible for a BIP, he must suffer from a minimum of 60% handicap and this applies to any form of handicap, not only visual. It is very difficult to use this to classify visual handicaps because there is no indication as to whether the figure of 60% refers to visual acuity only or should take into account visual field defects as well. An official definition is needed urgently. But the problem of a proper definition does not apply to Mauritius only, it is a world-wide problem. In UK, the definition of blindness is no better than in Mauritius as it requires the person to be so incapacitated as not to be able to do any work for which vision is necessary. This is indeed very vague and there is also no definition of partial sight. In United States, the definition of blindness is less than 20/200 visual acuity ie 10% (20/20 or 100% is normal vision) or severely restricted visual fields (less than 20 degrees). The World Health Organisation defines blindness as visual acuity worse than 20/400 or 5 % and partial sight as less than 20/60, 33% visual acuity. 20/20 and 6/6 vision is the same and is considered normal vision. The international adopted testing distance for vision is 20 ft or 6 m. In the States, the feet notation is still used, hence the 20 notation whereas in most other parts of the world, the metre notation is used. As can be seen from the definitions of blindness, a blind person needs not be without perception of light and a partially sighted person in the States can have completely normal visual acuity, but a very restricted field of vision.

If the handicapped is at 60% , the person is entitled to benefit from the Ministry of Social Security:

Moreover, there is also an extra child benefit up to a maximum of three children. There is also an extra carer’s allowance if the handicapped person needs the help of a carer.  Any person aged between 15 and 59 is entitled to a Basic Invalidity Pension.

A handicapped person aged over 60 years old, is not entitled to a BIP, but can benefit from an additional allocation on top of his old age pension. No carer’s allowance is applicable. A handicapped child under the age of 15 can benefit from a carer’s allowance, not a full BIP.

Other benefits include reduced bus fares, reduced air tickets on Air Mauritius flights, reduced fees for passports, extra tax allowances and free parking on reserved parking spaces for handicapped persons.

Most common causes of Blindness

There are many misconceptions about blindness; we hope that the information found in the sections below under each

Eye Conditions
Macular degeneration
Diabetic Retinopathy
Visual hallucinations -Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Disclaimer of Medical Liability

Whilst we have taken great care to gather correct information and to keep it current, we cannot guarantee its accuracy and completeness.

The information provided should never be considered a substitute for professional health care by a qualified doctor or other health care professional, which will be tailored to the patient's individual circumstances. We cannot take responsibility if you rely on this information alone.