(Q) Q & A with a Visually Impaired Person (#AToZChallenge 2021)

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My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired. I also hope to break misconceptions that still exist about those that are blind or have low vision. In this post I want to give this a personal touch and answer some questions on living with low vision from my point of view. These are my own experiences and should not be generalized.

What is your eye condition?

My eye condition is Retinopathy of Prematurity I was born 3 months early weighing 1 pound and 6 ounces and blood vessels in my retina did not develop correctly.

How does your eye condition impact your eyesight?

I am completely blind in my right eye. I have limited usable vision in my left eye.

Do glasses help you?

I do use glasses with a high prescription. My glasses magnify what I am looking at and they help me identify things around me. However, glasses do not restore my sight to 20/20. I can not see small details because my eye does not focus well on items. I have trouble seeing in bright sunlight and in dim lighting.

Do you use a cane or guide dog?

I use a white cane when I am out on my own. The cane helps me alert others i have trouble seeing them and it alerts me of upcoming curbs, steps and any obstacles in my path I may not see.

What can you see?

*large print
*objects
*faces (but only if I am a few inches away)

I can see:

I can not see;

*eye color
*social cues such as certain looks or facial expressions
*the stars at night
*snowflakes falling

There is more but this is a glimpse into my eyesight.

I will keep this post short. If you have questions leave them below.

(M) Magnification Tools for People with Low Vision (#AToZChallenge)

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My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to break down misconceptions that still exist regarding the blind and low vision community. Today I want to discuss magnification tools for people with low vision. 

There are many magnifiers to choose from. There are full page magnifiers as well as pocket size magnifiers. There are also magnifiers with LED screen magnifiers that allow users to change color contrast and adjust the font size. These magnifiers come in a range of sizes, they can be as small as a mobile phone to the size of a desktop computer. You can learn more here. 

There is also software that magnifies the screen on the computer and is available free on Windows and mac devices.

I resisted using these tools while in school because I did not want to look more different. The glasses I use are in fact magnifiers as I use a very high prescription and I did not want to be seen with extra tools. This attitude did more harm to me and made things much harder for me so I should have used these tools as things would have been much easier for me.  

(J) Jobs Held by Those who are Blind or have Low Vision (#AToZChallenge 2021)

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My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to break misconceptions that exist regarding the blind and visually impaired community.

Unemployment has always been high among those in the blind and visually impaired community. Some research shows that in 2017 the unemployment rate was at about 70 percent. There have been many advances in technology that make it possible for a person to work without sight.

Screen readers make computers accessible by using text to speech software. Artificial intelligence is now being used to provide image descriptions although these are not always reliable.

There are now portable braille displays with refreshable braille that converts everything on a computer or phone screen into braille.

There are now tactile drawing sets that turn a drawing into raise lines so a person can feel the drawing. There are talking scales and calculators and measuring tools that make it possible to complete many tasks. 

Today I want to highlight some of the jobs that are held by those who are blind or have low vision.

A blind scientist

Mona Minkara is a computational chemist and is a professor at Northeastern University. Read more about her and the tools that allow her to do her job here.

A blind lawyer

Jack Chen is a lawyer for Google. Learn how e is able to do his job in the video below.

A visually impaired graphic designer

Angela is a graphic designer who has low vision. Learn more about her story in the video below.

Some extra thoughts

I hope that these examples prove that a blind or visually impaired person is capable of holding a variety of jobs. Society has to be more open to this fact and begin to give those in the blind and visually impaired communities more opportunities.

(F) Foundations and Organizations Supporting the Blind and Low Vision Community (#AToZChallenge 2021)

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In this post I want to bring attention to some foundations and organizations that support the blind and low vision community.

Foundation Fighting Blindness

The FFB has been doing research for 50 years and has worked to identify Gene’s that lead to retinal diseases. They also help fund various research projects and clinical trials for potential cures to these diseases.

Two Vlind Brothers

Brothers Bradford and Bryan started a clothing line to bring awareness to the fight against blindness. 100% of the profits go towards research and to foundations such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness. You can learn more about them and visit the shop here.

American Foundation for the Blind

The American Foundation for the Blind has been around for more than 100 years. The foundation helps fund initiatives to help those in the blind and low vision community have access to education, employment and full inclusion in their communities. You can learn more about them here.

The National Federation of the Blind

The NFB was founded in 1940. This organization is comprised of people who are blind or have low vision from all walks of life. They have chapters in all 50 states in the U.S. plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. They hold an annual national convention that brings those in the blind and low vision community and their supporters together from all over the world.

This organization often advocates for the rights of blind people and has supported many legal cases on this issue. They also run several training centers to help those in the blind and low vision community learn the skills needed to lead an independent life. They have more resources for children all the way to seniors. Learn more about the NFB here.

The American Council of the Blind

The ACB is also an organization comprised of those in the blind and visually impaired community. They hold an annual convention and they offer many resources and programs to support those in the blind and visually community and their families. You can learn more about them here.

These are only a few of the organizations that support the blind and low vision community. My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired and to educate others on topics related to the community. In the next post I will discuss guide dogs.

(D) Dressing Up (#AToZChallenge 2021)

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Yes, a person who is blind or has low vision is fully able to dress themselves independently. The only exception would be in the task of identifying colors accurately. Yes, a person who is blind or has low vision can be into fashion and jewelry and makeup. The lack of sight is not an obstacle when it comes to enjoying this aspect of life. There are several tips, hacks and tools that make it possible to enjoy all of these things without eyesight. 

Clothing

Clothing is distinguishable by touch, by the style and texture. There are various apps available that are able to identify colors. The apps may not always be accurate so some sighted assistance may be needed for a new piece of clothing but this information could be obtained at the store. Clothing can be labeled with braille labels as well as other methods such as using puff paint to make dots instead of braille. 

Organization is important and someone that is blind or visually impaired is usually very organized as it makes it much easier to find items. I have shared more on this topic here.

Jewelry

Jewelry is a very tactile item in many cases and sight is not needed to appreciate the item. If you are looking for jewelry with an accessible touch check out  Elegant Insights.

All of the items they offer can be engraved with braille. 

Makeup

A person who is blind or has low vision is able to apply makeup independently. Yes it takes practice, and there are tips and hacks to make it easier but it is not an impossible task. 

This video may help you understand.

My theme for the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is to give an overview of what it is like to be visually impaired. I share some of my experiences along the way as well as examples from others.