When RNIB contacted me about their new campaign #HowISee I was enthusiastic to get on board 🙂
Did you know that 93% of people who are registered blind or severely sight impaired actually have some residual vision?
It’s a common misconception that people using a white cane or a guide dog use them because they have no useful vision left.
So that means only 7% of the population of people using these aids have light perception or black blindness! A very small figure in comparison to the 2 million people in the UK suffering with sight loss.
Visual impairment is a spectrum, which varies from eye condition to eye condition and from person to person suffering with the same condition as another.
There are 5 common eye conditions that cause sight loss;
*Age Related Macular Degeneration
*Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)
The conditions above are links, please feel free to click on them and find out more about these eye conditions. This has been sourced from the RNIB website
For example, medically 5 people with RP may have similar symptoms due to their condition: loss of peripheral vision(commonly referred to as tunnel vision), light sensitivity, night blindness and even colour blindness.
Each persons vision can vary dramatically from month-to-month and year to year, unfortunately this is a deteriorative I condition.
If five people with retinitis pigmentosa were to stand in the same room and you were to ask them about their visual acuity, you could get extreme and varying responses from them: light perception all the way through to clear and detailed vision until it stops peripherally. This on its own can vary from 10% peripheral blocking to 90%. If you imagine yourself looking than the lens of a telescope, you can only see what is directly in front of you, and in most cases of retinitis pigmentosa this is what is affected first.
Please watch this video of visually impaired people sharing their story and explain how they see! 🙂
I was born a healthy child with no severe medical problems, it wasn’t until I broke my arm at the age of 7 and after a multitude of tests I was diagnosed with Arthritis.
This went on into Uveitis Iritis at the age of 14 and has been a deteriorative eye condition ever since.
I shall explain my different types of sight in a few stages.
*Born sighted with no vision problems whatsoever; I had 20/20 vision,.
I could see for miles of a beautiful scenery.
Read the small print on documents without any struggle,
I could spot a friend in a very busy crowd
See an ant on the ground even when I was standing up.
*I needed to sit closer to the whiteboard in school and needed contrasting pens like black to help it stand out, green and red were big issues.
Things started to get blurred the further away I was.
Things weren’t as sharp in the dark as I could see them in the day.I started to sit much closer to the TV. I even started using a magnifying glass from a christmas cracker to read texts.
I could no longer see the stars in the sky.
My colour vision started to become muddled; pinks and yellows, greens and blues, browns and purples.
My eyes were very sensitive to light balance; going from light to
dark,, or dark to light took my eyes a good few seconds to readjust.
My sight would plummet and all I could see was light anywhere between 15and 45 seconds.
I needed to use a magnifying glass to read anything unless the font was abnormally large.
I needed to sit closer to the TV as detail was very blurred.
*I couldn’t see past the end of my nose.
Each day/ week I could see less and less in front of me.
I struggled to use my phone even with magnification.
Everything was hazy and I could only see big block colours otherwise I couldn’t distinguish anything; from people to steps.
I Have light perception; I can see when a light is on in a room, whether it’s day or night, ands light bouncing off things such as a mirror.
If you were to close your eyes now you would be able to see light flooding into your room and even pinpoint where there is a window, but you’ll be able to see nothing else.
Even if you know you are lying on your bed in the morning, you know there are things in your bedroom yet your eyelids block anything except light reaching your eyes.
That is essentially what I can see! 🙂
Up until I lost my remaining vision I refused to use a cane, so the public were oblivious to the fact I had any sight problems.
I cared more about how I looked and what people would think of me and less about my safety, which yes I know is completely ridiculous!
But now i’m loud and proud about my cane; it gives others a visual clue that I have limited vision, and helps keeps me safe also.
If you want to get involved in this brilliant campaign; write a blog, poem, story, create a podcast or even a Vlog feel free to join in and link it to RNIB and myself I would love to know your story 🙂