Being partially sighted shouldn’t hold you back. Of those people who suffer from some kind of visual impairment, 93% retain some kind of sight. Social stigma haunts partially sighted people, but you need not let that control your life.
Dealing with an illness or condition that comes with stigmatic baggage involves a two-pronged approach. You need to seek out physical treatments that help you live a normal life. You also need to negotiate the social and psychological stresses that accompany any divergence from the perceived norm. The reality of the matter is this: there are very few physically and psychologically ‘normal people’. Instead, social interaction often involves the toxic projection of unreachable standards of normality and coping ability.
Losing your vision can be a heartbreaking experience. Cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, retinis pigmentosa and even injury can change your life and alter the way in which people perceive you. Here are some tips for living with partial eyesight.
You Don’t Owe Strangers a Disability
Partial blindness is just that – partial. Society, however, demands an unrealistic binary from disabled people of all sorts. You may find that although you need some changes to your lifestyle, people expect you to be either ‘blind’ or ‘not blind’
Annalisa D’Innella – who lives with retinis pigmentosa- wrote rather elegantly in the Guardian that partial blindness is a “rich and fascinating spectrum”. Guilt had become part of her life as a partially blind person. She felt the judgment of strangers who noticed that she used a cane while being able to perceive her surroundings. The key to living with her partial blindness for her? Letting go of guilt. You do not owe binary disability to anybody. Live as well as you can and with any means available to you. Don’t get hung up on what you think you should be.
There Are Surgical Options
The technology involved in eye surgery has taken great leaps forward in recent years. The introduction of LASIK surgery and multifocal IOL cataract lens implant has made eye surgery for partial blindness far less invasive than it once was.
Always check out testimonials before rushing in to surgery. It might also be worth carefully considering whether you need surgery at all. Consult your doctor and any therapists you see before committing to surgical intervention.
When conducted responsibly and using the latest technology, optical surgery can have amazing results, but you might find that living with partial blindness is a better option for you.
Accept Help and Support
Accepting help and support can completely change your life. Charities such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People can help you with applying for benefits, assessing surgical and therapeutic options and purchasing equipment.
Importantly, they can also put you in touch with support groups so that you can share your experiences with people who have gone through similar things. Having a community of peers around you that know what you have gone thorough can help you lead a resilient and full life.