Dreaming as a Person Who is Blind or Visually Impaired

By Alison Roets • Apr 07, 2022
Woman sleeping on a bed with white blanket with a gold eye mask over her face

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Blindness is a spectrum, which means everyone who is blind or visually impaired sees differently. Not everyone who is blind is totally blind. This concept applies when dreaming as well.

Some people with no vision dream in just sound. Others dream with sound, light and color, and shapes depending on what age in life they lost their vision. Those who are high partial will see something close to what a fully sighted person would see, which is images from daily life such as people and places – but they have their same visual acuity in the dream. 

Asfvision on TikTok recently posted a video on how he dreams blind. He said sometimes he sees perfectly, because he used to be able to see as a child, and other times its just chaotic color and or sound. heatherhutchisonmusic on TikTok recently posted about dreaming blind. She’s been blind since birth and she said if she’s dreaming about an unfamiliar place, she won’t have her cane or guide dog and gets around just fine even though she can’t see anything. 

Walter Harper, a Customer Care Specialist at Envision, has been blind since birth and he says he only dreams in sound because he has never been able to see. 

Below are other perspectives from Envision employees or program participants. 

“I see everything clear like I don’t have a vision problem. It could be due to the fact that I had full vision until I was 16 and only lost partial of my vision. But in my dreams, I see as if I don’t have an impairment.” - William Quist, Manager BSC Store Minot, Envision Xpress

"I have dreamt vividly pretty much every night since I was a kid. In my dreams, I can still see but yet I’m aware of my visually impairment. For example, I know I am not supposed to drive because my license was taken away but sometimes I am driving in my dreams. Also, I’m careful never to lose my hat or sunglasses." - Gretchen Howard, Envision Arts program participant

“When I dream, I still am able to see with limited vision. However, my vision is limited where I can see clearly. I believe it is because when I lost my vision, it went away within three weeks. But the coolest thing for me is that the alphabet is so special to me. For example, each letter has a different color in my mind. Also, it is like I see the writing, but it is in braille. Print has been replaced by braille for some crazy reason in my brain. Another thing, once I have felt an object, it is like I am able to see it as well. This has to be dear me.” - Al Rodriguez, Assistive Technology Trainer, Envision Dallas

“My dreams are usually quite vivid. I tend to visit the same places, all locations I’ve never been. It kind of feels like an alternate reality. My vision doesn’t appear to be different – I don’t see things better or anything but I do dream in color.” - Terese Goren, Assistive Technology Specialist, Envision Workforce Innovation Center

“My dreams are very real. I use all of my senses except for sight. When people lose their site later in life, they usually can dream with sight for several months before it fades away from their subconscious. My dreams are as real as anybody's.” – Blake Lindsay, Outreach Manager, Envision Dallas

“When I wear my glasses while awake, I give the illusion to the outside world that I can see. So, when I am sleeping, I wear my glasses because I feel like I can see my dreams better.” – Erica Johnson, Envision Arts Program participant 

Every individual with sight loss sees differently and dreams differently. To understand how one individual dreams, you would need to understand their visual impairment. To do that, you’ll need to ask questions of those who are blind or visually impaired around you or on social media. Asking questions in general to those who are blind or visually impaired is encouraged not only to gain empathy, but to better understand how you can be helpful and an advocate. 

Do you have other questions for those who are blind or visually impaired? Check out this Facebook post with nearly 20 comments from people who are low vision or contact us at info@envisionus.com. We can connect you with the right people to answer your questions.