Before I begin, I'm not asking about people playing "Blindfold chess", but those who are actually blind.
Reading through the FIDE rules of chess like any good player should, I've previously noticed the section containing rules for players who are visually handicapped. I never really paid this any attention before other than to note how difficult it must be to both learn the game (containing as it does complex spatial movements and a large amount of information to be kept in the head if it cannot be seen) and to study it (most learning resources being books that are probably nowhere near popular enough to be made 'accessible').
Just recently I started thinking about this, and I'd like to know a bit more about this aspect of the game, but information is rather hard to find. To begin with, How strong are the strongest blind chess players in comparison to those without disability? Ideally we'd be talking about people using the same scale (i.e. theoretically entering the same 'ordinary' tournament with perhaps minor allowances for the games of the disabled person, and needing to have comparable Elo ratings, etc.), though if there's a separate rating system that information would be useful too.
On a related note, Have there been any blind players notable for their strength or players they have faced?