Sociocultural Aspects of Blindness in an Egyptian Delta Hamlet: Visual Impairment vs. Visual Disability

Sandra D. Lane, Blanche I. Mikhail, Alice Reizian, Paul Courtright, Rani Marx, Chandler R. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-260
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Anthropology
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Egypt
  • blindness
  • cultural definitions of disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology

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