Most of us don't understand what loss of vision is really like. That's why we've launched an online Sight Simulator. We wanted to give people a sense of what the world might look like through the eyes of someone who is legally blind.

What is the Sight Simulator?

Using Google Street View, you can search for a familiar address or iconic landmark and view them with a varying severity of vision loss due to cataract, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.

You'll see that familiar places like Central, Tsim Sha Tsui or Sham Shui Po are hard to identify with dense cataracts or severe diabetic retinopathy, and even familiar locations like your home or workplace can become unrecognisable.

Central, Hong Kong, in the eyes of a patient with simulated cataract.

As you explore the street view around you, facts about avoidable blindness will pop up on the screen. For example, did you know that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide? Or that everyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy?

Understanding blindness   

Millions of people are unable to access treatment for their blindness, which can often be as simple as a 20 minute surgery costing as little as $150 in some countries.

We know that so many people are suffering, but legal blindness is not binary. For most people with vision impairment, it’s not a matter of seeing nothing versus seeing clearly. The reality is somewhere in between.

It’s difficult to imagine living without full eyesight - but the Sight Simulator might give you some idea.

About 36 million people around the world are blind when they don't have to be.

If you want to understand what it's like to view the world around you without full eyesight, check out the Sight Simulator.