Vicky: In reading Dave’s post last week it struck me that there must be a fine balance between getting on with life and learning to live with sight loss/vision impairment but also wondering if there is a chance that vision may be restored in the future. I guess it’s the same with a lot of different impairments. Last year Dave and I took part in the Run in the Dark event in London for the Mark Pollock Trust, funding research into a cure for paralysis. Mark Pollock is blind and had a spinal injury following a fall from a hotel room and now pioneers research into potential cures for paralysis.
On the other side of the coin, Dave and I have read articles before by people with vision impairments who say they wouldn’t accept a cure for blindness should one become available to them as they have ‘accepted’ being blind and that it has shaped their lives and makes them who they are. I have also read similar comments from people who are wheelchair users.
However, there are many others who say they haven’t ‘accepted’ their condition but learnt to live with it the best they can, making the best of life as Dave said in his blog last week but who certainly wouldn’t turn down a cure if it was offered to them.
It’s a difficult one to get our heads around if we don’t consider ourselves to have an impairment. I guess none of us really know how we would feel, cope or respond if we’re not in that position. I know a colleague of ours who is a wheelchair user, was told by someone (in quite a patronising tone) that he was ‘such an inspiration’ and responded, politely, that he has little choice and was just getting on with his life.
At the other end of the spectrum though, a recent discussion on a Facebook group called ‘VI Talk’ included comments that people with vision impairments had received from those with sight. One of these was ‘I would rather die than be blind’. One person said they had responded to this comment by saying ‘Why wait?’ which made me smile.
So no easy answers apart from getting to know someone or ask them rather than making assumptions or passing judgements. I saw an adaptation of the saying ‘never judge a man until you’ve walked in his shoes’ which read ‘Don’t judge me till you walk a mile in my shoes or spend a day in my life’. I think it’s a good maxim to live by!
I think there is a fine line here and it definitely depends on the person and their situation. I do remember talking to a vision impaired lady many years ago and her saying that having no sight was easier than when she had just a little bit. I couldn’t get my head around this and still can’t really as I feel that even a little vision is helpful. However, I do lots in the dark so maybe the little vision I have isn’t needed all the time – maybe I’ll write an Insight on that soon!
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.