Visual defects are common in deaf individuals. Refractive error and ocular motor abnormalities are frequently reported, with hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism and anomalies of binocular vision, all showing a greater prevalence in deaf individuals compared with the general population. Near visual function in deaf individuals has been relatively neglected in the literature to date. Comparisons between studies are problematic due to differences in methodology and population characteristics. Any untreated visual defect has the potential to impair the development of language, with consequences for education more generally, and there is a need to improve screening and treatments of deaf children.