ADMITTING SIGHT LOSS; IS SHARING ENOUGH?

One of the most enjoyable parts of writing this blog is being able to cover a range of subjects from various viewpoints.  I purposely do this to try and reach as wider an audience as possible.  Not all topics will suit everyone, but I hope that there is something there within the entries that I have written that will interest you.  Please feel free to comment and make suggestions.

Generally, my articles are written in an informative context; looking at products and services that are out there and also seeking a perspective on issues that effect the visually impairment and those interested in it.  I often write from my own experience as a visually impaired person and give opinions through the things that I have experienced and lived through.  Topics do have a serious context, but at times, I will look at the lighter side of life.

In this entry though, I start to look at the serious area of sight loss and the difficulties that accepting this can bring to people living through it for the first time.  Although, the descriptions and discussions may seem a little dour at times, it is important though, to achieve the right level of context with this by recognising the day to day issues that are lived through.

Sight loss can be an extremely isolating, Frightening, frustrating and traumatic experience for anyone to face.  Accepting this is a significant hurdle to overcome, but with the right support and help, it can be made easier.  In a later entry, due recognition will be given to some of the sources of help that are available and to the new programmes that are coming on stream to support living with sight loss. For now, it is crucial to start recognising some of the problems that are faced.

One area that many people have found extremely difficult to work through is that of letting friends, family and members of the public know that you have a sight loss.  For many, the concept of losing sight means that you can either see or you cannot; simply the difference between a world of light and one of darkness, uncertainty and enclosure.  To Reality is that it’s not like that and the spectrum of visual impairment goes from short sightedness to peripheral, central or at the very extreme total sight loss.  The range is quite widespread and the loss of total vision is relatively rare, so it is important to impress that    having a decrease in your friend or family member’s sight does not mean that they are suddenly thrust into a cave of darkness and shadows.

Carrying around a symbol of sight loss can be a hard obstacle to overcome.  For example, the white or long cane has often been seen as an image of total blindness.  In fact, the cane can come in different varieties; either as a long mobility aid, a shorter guiding device or as a smaller handheld fold away cane.  Holding or using the cane in public can be hard to accept as for some, it does let other people know that they have a sight loss; something that they would prefer to be kept hidden.  However, by not having a cane and symbol of visual impairment may well mean that if you accidently bump into someone, they are not going to understand that this happened because they weren’t seen.  It’s a tricky dilemma to worked through but one that can be achieved in time.

Time is the key here.  When going through it, it is understandably difficult to accept that letting others know you have a visual impairment can be positive in the sense that any bumps, bangs or trips can be explained.  AS many will say, keeping something to yourself can be isolating in itself; sharing it with others can be a way on the road to acceptance.

Experiences, thoughts and opinions will vary and it will be great to you hear yours.  Feel free to comment on this article.  By discussing some of the experiences of sight loss, it will hopefully help someone somewhere to find a solution to a concern, a key to a worry or even a  breakthrough to a barrier that is holding up an understanding of living with sight loss.

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