Legally blind does not mean I cannot see
Legally blind is one thing, totally blind is another
The truly frustrating thing that upsets many just diagnosed legally blind people. Far more frequently than you may believe, crossing paths with a sighted person that simply doesn’t understand there is a difference in what a legally blind person can see, and a totally blinded individual that cannot see the light of day.
The truly frustrating thing here, most folks that deal with legal blindness issues, do see just enough to allow their minds eye get them into trouble from time to time. Thereby giving skeptical people, all the reason they need to question the effects of blindness.
People diagnosed as being legally blind, live with the challenges low vision problems cause. With eyesight below legally defined visual acuity and or, field of vision limits. Which simply put, a legally blind person either has fuzzy, out of focus visual acuity and or, a very small field of view that is crystal clear.
Either way, these often-hardheaded people, refuse to give up on their everyday activities do their best to go about leading a normal life. Use the eyesight they have so as not appear disabled, or vulnerable / easy prey.
This type of behavior causes many sighted people to misunderstand these types of vision problems. Making them believe we are faking, lying, or trying to take advantage of an often-misunderstood disability.
Many people inexperienced in dealing with vision loss problems misunderstand low vision problems. The legally blind diagnosis means a health care professional has administered several visual tests, and the results of these vision tests have determined a person’s vision is less than the 20/200 threshold required in our best eye. Subsequently, confirming many people’s worst fear, classified as being legally blind.
This turn of events, forces not only individuals with low vision problems, friends, and family also. Accept the understandably emotionally overwhelming truth, and fear that accompanies the legally blind diagnosis. We will need to change the way we do our everyday tasks, deal with others, and explain what we can and cannot see.
What is visual acuity
Instead of giving you some long drawn out textbook definition, how about I tell you what it means to me.
Just let me say, visual acuity for me is exactly how clearly we see the world around us. For blind people like me, one of the single biggest heart breaking realities, is not recognizing the expressions on friends and loved ones faces. Think of it this way, for the legally blind person seeing your loved one’s smile at more than arm’s length, for the most part is out of the question. Just think about how that would affect your day-to-day activities for a moment.
· Imagine not seeing the look of excitement on a child’s face when they first learned they could ride a big kid’s bike.
· Imagine not seeing your first grader’s first elementary school play, not because you could not get away from work. Oh, no you were in the auditorium, you just could not see what was happening on the stage a mere twenty feet in front of you.
· Imagine not simply jumping into your car, pickup, SUV, or motorcycle to go to work, the market, or that championship game everyone has been talking about for weeks.
· Imagine how your life would be different not being able to use all the cool apps available for the android, iPhone or iPod touch. I have to tell you, it is not the end of the world but in that instance, it sure does suck to be blind.
· Imagine how it feels, when friends, people you meet, and other members of the community think you are faking for one reason or another. Adding insult to injury, the self-absorbed a-holes go around talking about how you are not blind, and all that “Legally Blind” B.S is just crap.
Using a red-tipped blind cane is a good thing!
Folding blind cane
Learn new skills and adapt
I completely understand many blind men and women. Regardless their age or background, do have problems learning how to use let alone embrace the use of adaptive technologies. One such low-tech adaptive technology is the blind person’s cane. Oh yes, the red-tipped white cane is a huge turnoff, in fact many people find the thought of ever using the blind cane horrifying.
In the beginning, we all fear the stigma real and imagined that accompany the use of such things that do little more than draw attention to a person's perceived inabilities.
For those unfortunate people that feel and think that way, I have three extremely powerful words I want to share with you that will absolutely change your life for the better.
Get over it.
Acquire either the easily folded folding cane, or a sturdy walking style cane that will support you, learn how to and use the red-tipped white blind person’s cane and get off your backside.
High tech adaptive technologies
The act of writing this or any article may seem a bit daunting if not impossible. Let me assure you, not that long ago I felt exactly the same way. Then I discovered, I really could, from the security of my own home. Through the marvel of cutting edge, adaptive technologies software installed in my Dell desktop loaded with ZoomText screen reader / magnifier. Write articles, post to my blogs, surf the internet, join Facebook, and even publish this article here on Hub Pages. If you ask me that is pretty darn cool.
Personally, I discovered the benefits of the Zoom Text 9.1 software while attending the vocational rehab program at Hines VA Hospital in Hines Illinois. Please believe me when I tell you. I highly recommend anyone dealing with the challenges associated with low vision or legally blind. For all you normal sighted people reading this encourage your legally blind friend to get off their backside, do yourself, and the folks that love you a huge favor. Deal with the fear. I know it is not easy. However, swallow your foolish pride, attend vocational rehab for the blind, and get on with your life.
Talking alarm clock and temp
Adaptive Technologies for the legally blind improve quality of life
There are many adaptive technologies available today. Technologies designed specifically with each particular challenge low vision, legally blind, and the blind person deal with every waking hour.
Take the large number display, talking alarm clock for instance. The large number display makes seeing the time easier for the legally blind. Where the talking alarm clock with the touch of a large easy to find tactile button, speaks to those of us blind since birth, or due to illness, are without vision.
The white cane with the red tip (blind person's cane), do you know what it means? It never ceases to amaze me, believe it or not. Many people do not know blind people all around the world use a red tipped white cane to find their way. Oh, no it is true, just so, you know, the white cane with the red tip is not a fashion statement. It is actually an important tool used by blind people to find their way.
Magnifiers, you know just like the hand-held magnifier your grandmother used to read the reader’s digest, the obits in the newspaper, and her favorite novel.
Omni vision combines a pair of eyeglasses and the magnification features of a monocular or telescope. Technology at work helping the legally blind watch a ballgame, play or a songbird in the garden goes a long way to lifting the spirits of the visually impaired.
Screen magnifier, one of the coolest advancements in pc technology in my opinion anyway, the features of computer software like Zoom Text 9.1 program, the screen magnifier makes accessing pc technologies easy for the blind. Today’s computer technology advancements make it easy to adjust both magnification, and the color or the Font and background adding the much-needed contrast.
Application reader, for those of us who would benefit from a technology that makes it possible for your computer to speak to you, I have a bit of good news for you it really exists. Yes, loaded with the proper software, your computer will read your favorite website, email, word documents, Facebook posts, and much more. Believe me when I tell you I have used this technology for over five years and it works great.
ZoomText software with screen magnifier & app reader
Please allow me to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this article. It is my hope you will find it, both useful, and informative. In the event you have any questions I may help you find answers to, leave them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them.
Best wishes, Mike
The author of this publication, Mike Teddleton owns the copyright to Legally blind does not mean I cannot see. The rights to publish this article in print or online can only be granted by contacting me the author in writing. You may use the intro and link back to the article directing the reader back to my post here at Hub Pages where they may find the article in its entirety