8 Things I Wish People Understood About My Vision Loss

1. It usually occurs slowly. 

While some people can go blind overnight or in a matter of days, many people with degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and macular degeneration, lose their sight gradually over a period of many years.

2. Just because our vision changes doesn’t necessarily mean our interests do.

Some people may assume that certain hobbies that are sight-related, such as sports, fashion, makeup and woodworking, might no longer be interesting or feasible after vision loss. This often simply isn’t true.

I feel there’s nothing worse than a group of friends assuming you no longer want to go on your annual bike-riding trip, aren’t interested in watching a football game together or don’t enjoy shopping with them anymore. Yes, some things may change, such as needing to use a tandem bicycle, a tether for running side-by-side or audio descriptions for movies, but these activities can still be very fun.

There are most always ways to compensate and adapt when it comes to the activities we love. I have a friend who is completely blind from RP and recently refinished his basement alongside his son, even handcrafting a beautiful wet bar, all without sight. I’ve heard of auto mechanics who can no longer drive but still find ways to work on cars. When someone has a talent or an interest, they often find a way to continue doing it.

3. It can feel socially isolating.

Think of all the social interactions you use your vision for, from greeting your neighbor across the way to commenting on someone’s clothing. From college students bonding over late-night activities around campus to parents observing their kids’ soccer games, some of these experiences can feel a bit awkward for people losing their vision.

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