8 Things I Wish People Understood About My Vision Loss

4. The things we can and can’t see can sometimes be confusing, even for us.

I can’t always explain why I can’t figure out what a picture that someone texts me is, but I can read the print caption that goes along with the photo. Perhaps it has something to do with the visual memory of letters and how my brain fills in the gaps, even when parts of those letters are missing. Or maybe it’s the contrast or the size and color of the photo that makes a difference. Whatever it is, it can be difficult to explain to people and could even appear phony, like I have “selective sight,” but anyone who knows me well understands and doesn’t give it a second thought.

My younger sister, who works on a cruise ship, overheard one of her co-workers complaining about a passenger who had requested vision-related assistance but then appeared to be looking at something. The co-worker assumed the person was lying about their poor eyesight, but my sister grew up watching her two older twin sisters with vision loss and quickly told her co-worker the passenger might need help seeing some things but not others.

Vision loss isn’t always a concrete, black and white picture for people losing their sight. Take colors for example. I can identify most colors in a general sense but often can’t distinguish between blue and green, red and orange, purple and brown or even between yellow and white.

5. We can have “bad” and “good” vision days.

Sometimes it depends on how sunny or cloudy it is outside. Other times it depends on eye strain, the time of day, lighting inside versus outside and even how many trees or landscaping are around casting shadows, causing my eyes to play lots of tricks on me.

6. It’s not something I dwell on daily.

Gradual degeneration is a lot like aging. You don’t look in the mirror every single day, inspecting every new wrinkle, exclaiming, “I’m getting older!” — just like I don’t stare at eye charts constantly, noticing every little change.
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