The majority of blind people in the U.S. and the U.K. cannot read braille. Statistically, less than 1% of blind in the U.K., and under 10% in the U.S - FactzPedia

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The majority of blind people in the U.S. and the U.K. cannot read braille. Statistically, less than 1% of blind in the U.K., and under 10% in the U.S

The majority of blind people in the U.S. and the U.K. cannot read braille.



Fewer than 1% of the two million visually impaired people in the UK are users of Braille. "The best figure we have is 18-20,000," says Osborne. "That's people who use Braille in some context




Thanks to changed regulations Braille is spreading but do most blind people actually use the language of dots?

It's been around for 200 years but you may only recently have noticed Braille in everyday usage.

If you've had your eyes, or fingers, open, you may have noticed Braille on toilet doors to denote gents or ladies, on buttons in lifts, on bottles of wine and packaging on breakfast cereals and ready meals.

The Co-op chain spearheaded this small revolution on some of their own brand products but it's appearing gradually on other goods in other stores too.

Braille menus are available on request in many UK chain restaurants such as Nando's and Pizza Express, but it's most obvious on medicine and pharmaceuticals - everything from cough sweets to blood pressure tablets.

Across Europe, it's all thanks to an EU directive passed in 2005. But the trend is not restricted to Europe.

On Twitter, you'll regularly see US users pondering why there is Braille on drive-through cash machines when blind people can't drive. They can be passengers, of course.

In the not-too-distant past, Braille on bleach bottles used to have paternalistic messages like "irritant" or "do not drink" rather than giving useful information about what the product was, like "kitchen surface cleaner".

There has been a shift in the attitude of supermarkets and other key businesses, says Pete Osborne, chief Braille officer at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

"Manufacturers don't now say 'it'd be really nice if we could do Braille' they say we know we should, we need to know how."

But there's a contradiction - as Braille use spreads across everyday objects, the number of people using the system has actually been in long-term decline.

Louis Braille came up with the system - drawing inspiration from a failed military "night writing" code - while still a child in France in 1821. It allowed blind people to read independently for the first time and was widely adopted.

At the time, raised dots were the best hope for blind people. Today there are screenreaders for computers as well as smartphones that speak. It has spawned a generation of blind people who are tech savvy out of necessity.

So, in this talking digital landscape, are lumps in paper still useful? And how many people are still using the medium?

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