Hello everyone and welcome back to My Blurred World.
I hope you’re all doing well.
Today I wanted to join in with a campaign that The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have recently launched under the hashtag #howIsee. I was instantly intrigued when I heard about this campaign and I think it’s a great way to raise awareness of sight loss.
The aim of #howIsee is to tackle the stigma surrounding sight loss in the hope of changing people’s perceptions when it comes to visual impairment, if you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that one of the main aims of my blog is to raise awareness of visual impairment so I was very excited to get involved in this campaign.
Many sighted people seem to think that being registered as blind/severely sight impaired means that a person can’t see a thing but in reality this is not the case. 93% of people who are registered as blind/severely sight impaired do have some remaining vision, this contradicts many ideologies that state that being severly sight impaired is all black and white, it certainly isn’t and this is a perception that this campaign hopes to change.
There are many levels of sight loss, everyone’s vision is different and in this post my aim is to share with you how I see the world through my eyes.
I have a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), my vision is really blurry and I like to describe it as being like a camera that is constantly out of focus.
My right eye is what I call my ‘bad eye’, if I were to cover my left eye then I can hardly see out of my right. My right eye does also feel very odd, by that I mean that it feels a bit sticky and I do suffer from it being very painful sometimes. I also have night blindness which means that I go blind when anywhere is dark.
I can access large print documents but I do sometimes suffer major deterioration in my vision which means that I may not be able to do so and therefore I then depend on braille and assistive technology.
I do wear glasses which reduces the blurriness a little but my eyesight is still very severe. I am a user of the long cane which I’ve become more confident in using but I also do depend on other people to give me sighted guide when I’m in unfamiliar locations. I’ve had many people ask me questions when I’ve been using my cane, when I first got back into using my cane I ventured into a town nearby where I live and I was about to enter a shop with my mobility officer when a young man asked me ‘Are you blind or something?’, I didn’t reply but I think it would have been pretty obvious that I wouldn’t be going around using a cane just for fun. Using the cane is very daunting and when people find the need to make sarcastic, judgemental and mean comments it doesn’t make it any easier. But as I said I am now coming to grips with using the cane and I feel much happier and confident when using it now and have learned not to take any notice of people’s judgments.
People always ask me how I use technology as a visually impaired person and I am in fact thinking of writing a post on this so please do let me know if it’s something you’d like to read here on my blog. Technology is very advanced these days and there are many things out there that help blind/visually impaired people when it comes to technology, things like screen readers (Jaws), voiceover, the option to zoom in on a computer/phone screen, there are even apps that assist visually impaired people and I think it’s amazing that there are so many things available. I won’t go into too much detail now but without assistive technology I think that life would be a lot harder for blind/VI people and I personally believe that the developments that have been made when it comes to technology is very important.
Moving back to my level of vision, I am very sensitive when it comes to light, especially during the summer months. I have found that I have to wear sunglasses even inside sometimes because the brightness can occasionally be a little too much. Another thing I find difficult is recognizing faces, this is something that many people don’t seem to understand and they think I can see them when I walk into a room or when I walk past them but the reality is that I can’t. This can prove to be very difficult sometimes because some people have assumed in the past that I’ve been ignoring them but I just can’t see them.
Many people also don’t realize that I am visually impaired (unless I tell them of course), but when I have told people about my visual impairment in the past they’ve responded by saying ‘oh you don’t look like you are’, ‘since when?’, ‘But you seem normal…’. Ok first of all I think the main thing that blind/VI people experience is people telling them ‘You don’t look blind’ well can you please explain to me how blind looks like? I think people have the idea in their minds that blind/VI people should look a certain way and in my opinion that’s completely out of line. Also assuming that blind/VI people aren’t ‘normal’ can also be very offensive, can someone please explain to me what the definition of ‘normal’ is because I’m pretty sure that no one is ‘normal’ we all have our quirks and things that make us unique and different to everyone else. I can assure you that we as blind/visually impaired people are just as ‘normal’ as you who is reading this right now.
I truly hope that people’s perceptions do change in the future and that people start to realize that not everything is black and white.
I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog post and taking part in this campaign, do let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.
If you are blind/visually impaired then be sure to take part in the #howIsee campaign and help to tackle the stigma/perceptions surrounding sight loss.
If you have any questions then please do get in touch as I would love to hear from you.
Thank you all so much for reading today’s post, be sure to join me next time in My Blurred World. xox