5 perks you might not see about being blind…

As a 22-year old man with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative and incurable eye condition that has left me with around 5% vision, I will be the first to tell you that being blind or severely sight impaired is hard. Not only are you faced with physical barriers on a daily basis such as getting around, socialising and performing basic tasks, but a whole host of mental barriers also, whether it be a lack of confidence or the fear of being perceived incorrectly by others.

I know from personal experience how isolating and exhausting blindness can be. If you or a loved one are currently experiencing sight loss, have recently been diagnosed, or just having a bad day with your condition, please take some time to consider the following, and remember that although visual impairment presents many barriers, it can also provide a hell of a lot of positives too.

  1. It makes you more memorable.

Standing out and looking different is often one of the biggest anxieties for those with visual impairments, however in reality, sticking in people’s brains and making a lasting impression on them can only be a positive thing. Whether it’s being the most recognizable person at a party or the most memorable candidate for a job interview, there’s a lot of good in standing out.

  1. It can be a great ice breaker.

If you have ever spoken to a potted plant or a lamppost thinking it was another human being, then chances are you have a visual impairment.

Instigating conversations with strangers is daunting for the vast majority of the population, but for blind people it comes hand-in-hand with a whole lot of other difficulties.

What people often don’t consider however, is that informing people of your disability can often be an incredibly useful ice-breaker and not only gives you the opportunity to ask for help, but also the chance to advance the conversation into more friendly territory.

When standing alone at a busy event or train station platform for example, there couldn’t be a more natural opener than asking someone you know to be beside you a question about your surroundings due to your inability to see them.

  1. Sight loss can naturally enhance your other senses.

If you have a visual impairment, you’re probably having flashbacks to the hundreds of occasions you have been asked about your potential superpowers as a result of your sight loss. Turns out there’s scientific proof that the brain rewires itself to better rely on the rest of the senses, making them more acute and far more useful than the average person’s. The amount of times I have amazed people by identifying someone by their footsteps or the perfume they’re wearing is pretty staggering.

  1. There can be some great perks while you’re out and about.

From my experience of going out using a symbol cane, I have found that the general public is on the whole incredibly receptive and helpful. I will be offered seats on public transport, people will move out of my way on the pavement, and in some cases, I can even go straight to the front of the queue for things like clubs and roller coasters. Having a visual impairment can also save you a lot of money when visiting certain attractions or taking public transport, as a lot of places offer a free carer ticket to be snatched up by one of your friends. or family. I find that perks like this make up for a lot of the negative things that pop up day-to-day.

  1. It gives you a good sense of perspective.

Is there anyone more annoying than the friend who calls you crying because they broke a nail? As someone who faces a whole host of challenges on a daily basis, you are not only incredibly well-placed to offer advice to others, but you will also view the ups and downs of life in perspective. Just simply reaching the local shop by yourself independently will bring a sense of joy and accomplishment which a lot of people rarely get to experience. I find that keeping a record of accomplishments like this can provide you with a huge sense of fulfilment when you’re having a particularly down day about your sight.

So those are just a handful of reasons why I feel sight loss can have a positive impact on everyday life.

If you found this blog helpful or enlightening, please feel free to drop me a like and a comment, and be sure to follow to get notified about upcoming blogs.

 

 

 

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