Incidents often receive recurring questions about their experience.
BBC Mundo presents answers to some of these questions about perhaps lesser-known aspects of blindness.
Can the blind see images in dreams or not?
According to scientists, it depends. People blind from birth don’t understand how to see while awake, so they can’t see in dreams either. But most blind people lose their sight during their lives and can dream visually.
Danish researchers concluded in 2014 that the more time passes, the less likely it is that blind people dream of images.
The same research shows that people blind from birth have more nightmares than sighted people.
The theory is that nightmares are mental rehearsals for potentially disturbing events and that they may help develop coping mechanisms should they occur.
For example, the blind people who participated in the aforementioned study told the researchers dreams in which they got lost, were hit by a car or did not find their guide dogs.
Do the blind hear better than the sighted?
There is a common popular belief that the four senses that the blind retain are sharpened to compensate for their lack of vision.
In the movie «Essence of a Woman», the blind character played by Al Pacino is able to instantly distinguish one perfume from another.
Many blind people feel that their hearing ability is no better than the rest and what happens is that they must pay more attention to the sounds around them.
They judge the distance and direction of traffic by ear to avoid being run over and should pay more attention to the announcements on the station loudspeakers to find out what and what they have to go.
People who can see, on the other hand, tend to use the information panels when they travel.
But there is some evidence to support the theory that the blind hear better.
Research from the University of Montreal in 2012 suggests that a blind person’s brain is reprogrammed to use the visual cortex.
The blind use this cortex, usually in sight, to improve processing of other information such as sounds and touch.
Many blind people use auditory vibrations to build a mental image of their surroundings, just like bats and dolphins do, in a process known as echolocation.
Most use it all the time without realizing it, to avoid bumping into things.
Others say they can guess the size, texture, density, and distance of an object by clicking their tongues three times a second, and are able to walk and cycle without a cane or guide dog.
How do they choose the clothes they wear?
Over time, many blind people learn to identify the shape and style of clothing that suits them and tend to shop with people they trust.
Fashion-conscious blind people put a lot of energy into ensuring that the things they wear match well.
To do this, they can use a color detector, which is an instrument that, when in contact with a piece of clothing for one or two seconds, announces the color of the piece aloud. Although these detectors are not entirely accurate.
The blind have several ways to identify their pieces of clothing.
Some buttons sew different shapes to the labels. Others cut the labels in different ways.
Others use a barcode scanner that accumulates information about the clothing, such as color and washing instructions. Others simply try to remember the information or buy matching pieces of clothing.
What do guide dogs do?
Contrary to popular wisdom, guide dogs do not tell their owner when it is time to cross the street or take him where he wants to go under the instruction to «find the stores.»
Guide dogs walk in a straight line, always to the person’s left, and are perturbed to watch their owner’s right shoulder to protect it from bumps. Avoid obstacles and stop when you come to a curb.
Distinguish left from right. They may sometimes drive their owner into a high branch because they have a hard time judging overhead obstacles.
Everything needs your practice. Owners often think that they are the ones who are taking the dog, and not the other way around.
Guide dogs are also a good company for blind people who feel remote.
Your presence makes them feel more secure when they are out and, of course, a dog can help break the ice at a social gathering.
How to use the blind, computers and smartphones?
The blind and partially sighted use technology in three ways.
Some of those who can see a little can use software that magnifies everything on the screen to a size that can be easily read.
Totally blind people have two options. One is to put a Braille display below the keyboard that provides a tactile version of the words that appear on the screen.
A more popular option, since many blind people do not read Braille and this monitor can be very expensive, is a screen reader.
It is a software that reads the screen intelligently, using a synthetic voice.
The quality of the voices is getting better and better, but many old-school computer users stick with the one that sounds like Stephen Hawking, because they can be understood at a great speed and because they are used to its pronunciation.
After a while, users stop perceiving how their reader sounds and put it at a speed unintelligible to the rest.