Welcome back to fashioneyesta,com, I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday?
Today I have a new blog and YouTube video to share with you all and it is one that I am super excited to be doing and it is the Top Ten Misconceptions of Visual Impairment Part 2!
Now for those of you who don’t know or who have only bee following my blog recently I have a condition k own as Septo Optic Dysplasia which amongst other things has left with with a severe sight impairment and only central vision in my left eye and no vision in my right. I currently use a Guide Dog by the name of Unity and have specialist equipment like voiceover, magnifiers and other things to help me live a normal life. Even thought i get along with day to day tasks just fine I often encounter a lot of misconceptions from the public. So in May last year I decided to do a video on The Top Ten Misconceptions of Visual Impairment that I encountered.
Watch The Video Below
This video was majorly popular and got a huge reception on social media and let me to get involved with so many exciting projects like taking part in the Vision Conference with the amazing girls (Meg and Mared( from UCAN. I was also invited to guest blog for Scope on their blog about my video and it lead to loads of people discovering my blog. Click here to view the blog.
So, because of how popular it was and seeing as how my beloved blog turns 3 next week I thought that I should make a Part 2!
And now it’s here, live and online forever!
Disclaimer: I do not intend to offend anyone with these videos they are simply for educational purposes and meant to help the general public understand sight loss.
Please be mindful when you comment to other peoples feelings any comments that I deem derogatory or discriminatory will be removed.
Watch Part Two Below
For those of you who prefer reading my blogs or who are hard of hearing I thought i would also write these misconceptions too. Because I try to think about everyone.
1. People with sight loss are all elderly.
I think this first one stems back to a lot of things to do with the media and how sight loss first was brought attention to the public eye in the UK with the Blind Veterinarians, soldiers who ha been blinded in the war as a result of their injuries. Of course, rightly so as these courageous men fought for their country and demonstrated a remarkable amount of courage. Yet, this representation was the one the media seemed to stick to which is why in the present day we still get a lot of people assuming that sight loss is someone who is of the oder generation and male. Of course sight loss is also connected in a lot of people’s minds to Macular Degeneration which can be an age related eye disease. However, people with sight loss can be at any age, you could be born visually impaired like I was, you could contract it in later life as teen or young adult, you got become blind in your 50s all the way up to you 90s. So, sight los can happen at any age and it isn’t imply elderly people who are sight impaired. Whenever I go out people are often shocked to see that I am young and sight impaired. I think for many they always assume sight loss comes in later life, but in reality it doesn’t.
2. People with sight loss don’t have jobs.
This one I’ve heard once when I was out (ironically enough I was going to work) and a lady approached me and said started talking to me after a while she said ‘what can you do? you must be able to do something with your life? or do you just sit at home all day? do you work?’
To which I I replied ‘well I do have a job, I’m on the way to work now.’
Her response was, in a very shocked tone ‘oh! I didn’t think they let people with visual impairments work.’
I know, I was shocked too.
People with sight loss can work just the same as someone with full vision, just because they may have to do things in a slightly different method or use assistive technology they can still work and do the job just as effectively. So, do’t assume that disability presents people from obtaining a job because that is very untrue.
3. People with sight loss have innately improved other senses.
I think this one derives partly from the Daredevil culture, of course I mean this as no disrespect to Daredevil fans because I do like Daredevil. But, my point is that in the plot the protagonist loses his sight through toxic waste and then his other senses become improved a a result of this toxic waste so that he can fight the forces of evil and wear a suit and all that superhero stuff. But, in reality, that doesn’t happen although granted people with sight loss use their other senses more because they have to put them into practice. It isn’t the same as you body magically improving your senses for you, it doesn’t work like that. Take the example of sound, I have to hear for cars and traffic when I cross the street because I cannot see them. What I am doing is listening out for particular noises and trying to tell with my hearing the distance that the car is from me. I have to call on my other senses more to help me compensate for my sight. But, I have to do the work, my senses aren’t improved over night just because my vision doe not work as well.
4. People with sight loss need to be wheeled around in a wheelchair at an airport.
I personally have never experienced this before, but I know friends and colleagues who have. When they go to an airport and ask for assistance because they are sight impaired on occasions people have come to their aid with a wheelchair and insisted they allow themselves to be wheeled around in it. It is as if these staff have never heard of the variety of disability and accessibility and how one disability may require one thing and other something different. Disability doesn’t just mean a physical one, it could be sensory, cognitive, mental and so on. Disability is a huge mixing pot of different requirements and needs and it is utterly ridiculous to think that everyone with a disability can be treated in the same way.
Sight loss means you may require to be guided to a location just as hearing loss means you may need help with sign language just as someone who is in a wheelchair may require assistance to board a flight.
People need to think about disability in a more pragmatic way.
5. That they need help all the time.
Although it is lovely that people offer to help those with sight loss and something that many people in the sight loss community appreciate. It is another thing to presume that they always need help and cannot do anything for themselves. If you approach someone with sight loss and ask them for help and they say no then that’s fine. But, don’t think that they are just saying it or that they till need help and continue to offer your services. Because sometimes you may actually be doing more harm than help. One example is when you try and offer people with sight loss directions and you actually don’t have a clue of the place yourself but you think because you have more sight you will be able to help them. Or another example is that when I’m in London I take my GPS device and I hold it up to my ear so I can hear the direction,s sometimes people have grabbed my arm and insisted that they can help me. But in fact I didn’t need any help and its thrown me off my course and it really distracts both myself and my guide dog from our work. So although its lovely that people offer help to those with sight loss, I ask you please ask before you do and if they say no don’t presume that they still need help.
6. Getting offended at the word see.
Sometimes people will say ‘oh sorry I shouldn’t say see should it?’ Its like they think that just because someone has a visual impairment anything remotely connected to the visual world or actions that involve looking at someone will offend us. Which is of course not the case, we don’t get offended at the word see or ‘did you watch Orange is the New Black last night’ you may it as a term of phrase not as specifically watching someone with your peepers. You just mean was you perceiving or engaging in something. So, honestly don’t feel as if you need to tiptoe around us, you can say see and I am sure the person you say it to won’t be the least offended.
7. That people with sight loss are all miserable.
People have sometimes spoken to me and after a while they have said ‘oh you’re really friendly. Some people with sight loss are actually really miserable to talk to.’
The first thing I want to say is that we are all human and we can all have bad days, that’s just the way life works sometimes. But, not only that people with visual impairments should not just be defined by that one thing, nor any other disability for that matter. They may be having a bad day for a number of reasons and it’s probably not anything to do with their sight they might have lost a family member, they may have financial difficulties, they may be stressed out with work, it could be anything. So to say that everyone who is visually impaired is money a a result of that is a really sweeping claim to make and rather unfair on the sight loss community.
Additionally, people with sight loss are not all like that and even if you caught someone with a visual impairment on a bad day that probably had a one off bad day. Yet, society can often tar everyone with a disability or from a minority group with the same brush and thing that everyone in that said group is all collectively the same which again is very untrue.
8. That loosing your sight is the worst thing in the world.
People often say that they cannot ‘imagine anything worse than loosing your sight’ or ‘what a terrible fate, it doesn’t bare thinking about.’ My answer to this is that this is a terrible way to look at sight loss because, what if you were to loose your sight? As much as I don’t wish this on anyone, if it did happen its not the worse thing in the world. If you think like this now and in say 10 years you wake up to find that you have lost your sight. You will have completely put yourself in a mental lock and you will feel 10 times worse about loosing your vision because thats how you have e imagined it. Of course it can be hard at times and difficult to adjust to. But, honestly once you learn to live with it and get everything you need in place sight loss isn’t such a bad thing as you may think.
9. That everyone with sight loss must want their sight back.
This one I get quite a lot people will say to me ‘oh never mind maybe one day they’ll think of a cure,’ or’ ‘you never know science is improving these days. Maybe you’ll get your sight back in years to come.’ My response is that sighted people always assume that you want your sight back. Of course i totally understand that there are people who might feel differently and that i completely your right to want your sight back. But, equally if there are people who say that they are content with their sight and don’t want it back then thats ok to feel that that equally. I personally don’t want me sight back, for one I was born like it so i know no different and secondly if I did get it back it would be like some who loses their sight from having vision. Because, I would have to learn everything over again, I would have to learn to see in full view and everything that means. Which is something I really don’t desire and thats my right to feel that way just as it is for someone to want their sight back. Everyone is allowed to feel how they want to feel.
10. People lie about their sight loss.
This one is probably the most challenging one for me a it is something both I and my friends face on a regular basis. I have friends who are sight impaired and they nave no central vision, but they can still see to mobilise on their own. But, when it comes to reading something like a Tube Map and they ask someone for help because they are visually impaired, these people assume that because they don’t use a cane or guide dog or don’t have glasses that they are lying. Equally people often ask me if I ‘need a guide dog?’ because I don’t look blind according to them. Sight loss is a very varied spectrum of cases and each visual impairment requires different things. However, it is like when the public hear the word ‘visually impaired’ or ‘sight loss’ they just assume that you are blind, or partially sighted or sighted and there is no in between which is of course not true.
Just think outside the box!
So, that concludes my Top Ten Misconceptions of Visual Impairment Part 2, I really hope you enjoyed it.
Don’t forget you can subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos by clicking here and feel free to comment below if you have any of your own to add or if you have found any of these to relate to you. i love to read your comments.
So, until next time I wish you all well!