How I see the world
in Ambassadors, Jonathan Goerlach, News, Retinal dystrophies
12 May 2016
Ever wondered what being vision-impaired actually means?
Are you one of the many people who think that someone is either totally blind or is able to see everything?
To answer your questions, there are literally thousands of different types of visual-impairments that can leave the affected person classed as legally-blind. These eye conditions can be congenital, degenerative and late-onset all of which fall within that “grey area” of the general population who assume you simply have sight or none at all.
For example, I compete against other visually-impaired athletes in my chosen sport and as a requirement must race with a guide. However, when I train I can manage this on my own as my central vision is still very good and better than most people. So when I tell someone that I am legally-blind they think that because I can “see” them that I must have normal vision.
The picture you can see (no pun intended!) gives you one way of understanding what I can actually see. The black circles covering my eyes, which are part of my visual field/periphery test completed by Professor John Grigg (ophthalmologist) at Save Sight Institute as part of my sport/disability classification, are supposed to be completely white for people with normal vision.
The white parts that you can see, surrounded by black, is what is left of my remaining vision. Some people might think this is a scary or tragic thing to deal with, but the way I look at it is I am lucky to have any functional/useful sight to work with.
What I hope to gain from sharing this picture is the opportunity to educate as many people as possible that not all disabilities are visible, so please share this post so more people can understand too. Lastly, not every legally-blind person needs a guide dog or a walking cane, and most of us are very capable at just getting on with it and at leading a life no different to a person with full sight.
By Jonathan Goerlach