Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s blog.
This blog you are about to read is about my Visual Impairment. Today, I will share with you, in a little more detail as to how I see the world through my eyes. #HowISee is a campaign by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB). This campaign is aimed to break down myth and misconceptions of people living with Sight Loss; it also creates a way to educate the public that even someone is registered as Blind or severely Sight Impaired, it doesn’t mean that these people cannot see anything at all. As a Visually Impaired advocate and blogger, I think I also have a voice, and I should share my story, and use this opportunity to help raise awareness of what life is really like for someone living with Vision Loss.
So, let us begin the story. As for my vision, I never had what’s called ‘Perfect Vision’ which is 20/20 vision, ever, in my life; so I don’t know what ‘normal’ vision looks like. My main eye condition, I may have mentioned it a million times on my blog, which is Myopia. The term myopia, is just a medical term for nearsightedness-it means that distance vision becomes blurry but close-up vision is ‘usually’ clear and unaffected. Fortunately, many people with myopia can still have perfect vision- with the aid of glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. But unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to me, because I have High Myopia. With my eye sight, I was never able to have surgery or use contact lenses. I wore glasses since I was 5, up until about a year ago, and even with the aid of my glasses, I’ve had Low Vision all my life, and this lasted until I was considered Legally Blind this June, when my vision still continues to deteriorate. As a result of my High Myopia, there has been visible signs of degeneration, and that is why I was diagnosed with Degenerative Myopia (it is also an uncorrectable form of myopia); and also taking into account that I have astigmatism as well, which only makes my eye sight even worse. In addition to myopia, I also have other eye conditions, I’ll explain each condition and how they affect how I see.
One of the conditions I have is called Nystagmus, that is the involuntary movement of the eyes (also known as ‘dancing eyes’). I believe that my nystagmus has deteriorated over times, it has become more apparent, more uncomfortable, and my vision starts swing and shake more rapidly. In addition, my eyes don’t work well together, like normal eyes should. My left eye, which I call it my ‘bad eye,’ the acuity in that eye has always been worse than my right. For as long as I can remember, I only could see the biggest letter ‘E’ on the eye chart, of course that is with the most up to date corrective lens. And now, I can’t even see that anymore. As for my right eye, I used to be able to see about 20/80 to 20/100, and now I could see right on 20/200. The reason that my left eye is worse is because I have a condition called Amblyopia, also known as a ‘lazy eye.’ Having a ‘lazy eye’ means that one of my eyes didn’t develop property and therefore is worse than the other eye; so instead of using that bad eye, my brain has decided to abandon it and only focus on using my ‘good’ eye to compensate. By having this condition, I also developed Strabismus, which is commonly known as ‘crossed-eyes.’ Having ‘crossed-eyes’ could also cause some problems, especially sometimes I’d see things as if I have ‘monocular vision’ even though both of my eyes have remaining useful vision in them. Because my vision is severely impaired, and that I also have very poor depth perception, this is why I started using a White Cane, and in this way, I won’t get hurt from falling or bumping into objects as often. So, How I See the world, put it simply is: My eyes are constantly moving, because I have Nystagmus. My vision is severely blurred, especially when I look into the distance. My world through my eyes is almost like when you are running, and also trying to take a photo at the same time.
In addition to all of the eye conditions I have mentioned, and include how they have affected my vision, I also have Nyctalopia- which is Night Blindness. This condition has impacted my life in so many negative ways. I was extremely dependent on another person whenever I go out at night, and I had simply avoided going out at night, so basically I missed out on the majority of night-time activity. I used to get angry at someone when they say “Enjoy your night,” because I never enjoyed night time at all. But, all of this has changed since I started Orientation and Mobility training with using a White Cane, I became more independent, and also confident in my night-time travel.
To conclude, by reading this, I hope now you understand how I see the world through my eyes. And even with all the blurriness and shakiness of my vision, I am fortunate enough to still have some useful, remaining vision; this includes that I still have light, dark and even color perception; I could also see shapes and forms of people and objects. However, it is my distance vision that is severely affected from High Myopia, and my world ‘moves’ instead of staying still, because of the nystagmus. Nonetheless, despite that my eye sight is poor, I am fortunate enough to have this vision for as long as it lasts. And even though I am now Legally Blind, this doesn’t mean that I can’t see anything at all! Legal Blindness only means the Visually Impaired individual has a reduced visual acuity of 20/200 in the better eye with the best possible correction; or the person’s visual field (in the best eye) is no greater than 20 degrees. Blindness is so unique, and each individual with their eye condition often vary. I also hope that you now understand: no two blind or visually impaired person, even with the same eye condition, ever sees the world in the same way. So, don’t judge a book simply by its cover!
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and Thank you for reading to the end!
By: The Invisible Vision Project