Top Visually Impaired Fictional Characters
Almost 20% of people in the UK have a disability but according to a ‘Diversity in UK TV‘ survey, disabled people are seriously under-represented in the media – with only 1.6% of characters in the UK’s most popular shows being disabled.
Positive representation of visually impaired people
seems even more scarce – especially in children’s
media. Originally, we planned to do a top 10 list of
visually impaired characters but we struggled to find
Why does representation matter?
Media shapes the way children interact with the world and how they learn about themselves and others. Representation is vital because it allows children to see themselves reflected in strong, happy, successful characters and imagine more possibilities for their future. Positive representation has been shown to develop confidence and self-esteem in children, but also increases awareness and understanding of people who may be different to themselves.
Although TV and media has a long way to go to be fully representative of visually impaired people, here’s our top five favourite visually impaired characters…
1. Toph Bei Fong
Toph exploded onto our screens in season 2 of the smash-hit animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and quickly became a fan-favourite due to her quick wit, strength, and fierce independence.
Blind since birth, Toph is on a journey to become the world’s greatest Earthbender (meaning she can telekinetically control rocks, create landslides, and cause earthquakes) and she won’t let anything stand in her way!
Avatar: The Last Airbender is available on Netflix UK
2. Marina Datillo
Marina is a visually impaired bunny featured in Arthur
– the longest-running US children’s TV series. Marina loves football and reading and is shown to be kind, friendly, and understanding – although she hates when anyone makes a fuss of her for being blind!
Arthur is now streaming on Amazon Prime*
Hemmer is a brilliant engineer on the starship
enterprise from the most recent Star Trek adaptation: Strange New Worlds. Like other members of his species, Aenar, he is blind. Hemmer is played by visually impaired actor, Bruce Horak.
Strange New Worlds was honoured with a Ruderman Seal of Authentic Representation for casting Horak – an award given to television or feature film projects featuring actors with disabilities in substantial speaking roles to recognise those in the entertainment creative community who show commitment toward full inclusiveness in popular culture.
Check out Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+*
Pearl the Bunny is a new friend in Blue’s class,
introduced in series 3 of the animated series Blue’s Clues & You. Pearl has albinism and nystagmus, like her voice actor – Sadie Trant.
Blue’s Clues & You can be found on Amazon Prime & Paramount+*
5. Jack Damon
Jack Damon is a successful musician and the son of
Kate and Toby in the award-winning family drama, This Is Us. Jack was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity after being born three months early. His character is played at different ages by three visually impaired actors, Johnny Kincaid, Karl Seitz Jr, and Blake Stadnik.
Watch This Is Us on Amazon Prime*
*This information is correct as of March 2023 but may be subject to change.