All the Light I Cannot See: Adjusting with Blindness

This month, it’s two years ago that I had my last eye surgery, an attempt at removing a cataract from myleft eye. It was hoped that I’d see a little again – before then, I only had a tiny bit of light perception. Though the surgery was a partial technical success, I gained only very minimal functional improvement. I am still classified as having light perception only.

The adjustment process to my blindness is ongoing. I remember ten years ago when I was at the blindness rehabilitation center, my psychologist, herself blind from birth, telling me I just had to accept the fact that I am blind. I didn’t see myself as low vision anymore – hadn’t fo ryears -, but I still had trouble accepting the fact that i’m essentially completely funcitonally blind.

For those who are coming here from a linky and don’t know my story, I was born three months prematurely in 1986 and developed an eye condition common in preemies. It left me legally blind all my life, but until I was around eight, I had considerable vision that I used everyday. I had some vision beyond light perception until I was seventeen.

Even though I’ve been (almost) totally blind for over ten years now, it’s still hard to accept. I don’t miss the loss of independence as much, as I was never all that independent to begin with. Also, though I lost some independence over the years, it’s more to do with my increasing executive dysfunction than with my blindness. What I miss most, is the loss of appreciation. For example, when I craft, I can no longer see what colors I’m using.

I don’t know for sure that I ever had the abilities that I wish I had. For example, it frustrates me that I cannot add pictures to my blog posts without help, because the requirement of having an image go with every blog post is one of the most 101’ish lessons in blogging. Blogs didn’t exist when I still had considerable vision, so I cannot be sure I was ever able to work pics in blog posts. I do appreciate the help kindly offered to me by some fellow bloggers in checking images for me to make sure they go well with my posts. It is a nuisance though having to constantly ask for help. In this sense, I cannot say I miss the loss of independence, but rather the lack thereof.

Sometimes, I wish I were partially sighted again, even though I cannot even know what I’d be able to do that I cannot now with low vision. After all, like I said, blogs didn’t exist back then and I didn’t do many crafts. IN this sense, I wonder whether I truly wish for myself to be the old, partially sighted me, or for myself to be able to compete on equal footing with sighted people.

This post was inspired by the one-word blog challenge. The choices of words for this week were “shame” and “light”.

Everyday Gyaan

36 thoughts on “All the Light I Cannot See: Adjusting with Blindness

  1. I can’t even begin to imagine, but I can share my own great-grandmother went blind in her 40s and my grandmother (her daughter) had macular degeneration in the last 10 years of her life. Watching her handle her loss of vision slowly was hard, but gave her such credit for how she never gave in or up because of it. Thanks for sharing your story here, as well.

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  2. One of my best friends in college was a blind Greek exchange student. I tutored her in math, and she taught me just as much in return. I admit, to my embarrassment, that I was surprised when she wanted to attend a play in which I was performing. But we’re all learning, right?

    There was a young man who lived at a facility where I worked. He had little to no light perception. Yet he could walk around the entire place, which was not small, on his own (he didn’t even use a cane, and he never bumped into anything. I, however, bump into stuff all the time.

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  3. Wow Astrid. I can not even imagine how you feel right now, but it sounds like you are really handling it. Probably better than I would.

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  4. One of my biggest fears is losing my eyesight, Astrid. My grandfather went blind in his sixties and the hardest thing for him was the fact that he couldn’t read any more. This was way before technology made things somewhat easier.
    You are an absolutely inspiring young woman!

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  5. Hello Astrid! Kudos to you. You are indeed a strong woman. the best part is that you aren’t devastated with this situation, but emerging stronger. Keep this spirit live (it’s easy for me to say though). All the very best to u.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story. As Corinne said, this is one of my biggest fears in life. I can’t imagine what you are going through. But my prayers with you always. Thanks again for being an inspiration.

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  7. Hugs! Astrid. I was born with a squint and cannot read with my left eye, besides being colorblind. There’s not a day when I don’t feel immense gratitude for the gift of sight. God bless you for being such a positive spirit. Love to you!

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  8. You are a very strong woman. I think you’re a much stronger person than I am, that’s for sure. I have to be honest. I’m 35 years old, and I still don’t like the dark. I can’t imagine living the rest of my life without sight.

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  9. You have had struggles that I can’t even begin to imagine, and yet look at all you’re doing! I can only hope that if I experience things as challenging as you have, I will respond half as well as you have. Thank you for being so inspiring!

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  10. That loss of independence does sound really difficult to adjust to. You’ve been able to keep an awesome blog going regardless and I don’t think it’s ever bad to ask for help.

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  11. I can only imagine what it would feel like to be blond, but I adore your spirit and bravery in continuing to do things you love like crafting and blogging!

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  12. You are a strong woman and I think you are handling it well. You have the same case as my husband’s, though he can still see partially and pretty much do things on his own. His only frustration is not being able to blog so often.

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  13. Hugs and sunshine Astrid. I appreciate and admire your approach thought things here and there is bound to hit us at times but do try to stay positive and composed as you have been through all the time. Feels great to be acquainted with a soul which can be an inspiration to many… Glad I landed here. Stay blessed πŸ™‚

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  14. aw sweetie I wish I could hug across the screen! My mom is also legally blind after being hit by a baseball when she was younger, she is also quite crafty and that is one of the things that bothers her most, she also makes beautiful jewelry but can’t devote nearly as much time to it as she would like because it is such a strain for her.

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  15. You are such a strong woman, Astrid. In reading your blog, I find hope, inspiration and a renewed faith in God. It is a great honor for me to be a recipient of your innermost thoughts and feelings. May you be continuously blessed. Hugs!

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  16. Sight is something I take for granted every single day. I can’t imagine blogging without it. You are one talented, strong woman and you’ve really left an impression on my heart today. God bless you!

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  17. You are very brave sharing this story. I can’t even imagine that you are going through, but glad that you are able to share your story. I could help others. Funny thing is that when I first came to your site I LOVED your header! It is the most creative header I have seen in a while.

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  18. I love that you aspire to “compete on equal footing with sighted people.” I think you do in many ways, but I get that you want more. Know what I’d love? I’d love for the rest of us to appreciate the nuances of our crafts the way you do.

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  19. Very brave! I hope you can continue to pursue your love of blogging. It is sad you can’t choose pictures to add to your post clearly, I would gladly help if I can. But at least, you can still write, type and most esp. think! πŸ™‚ I hope all goes well if not better for you. Sending hugs!

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  20. I am slowly going blind. It sucks knowing I was born blind. Had surgery correction when I was two years old. Was able to save the right eye, not the left. The right eye is slowly getting worse. I am only 40 and need tri- focals. I fear the day I can not see. I am sorry you have vision issues.

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  21. I can’t even imagine what you go through on a daily basis. My daughter was born deaf but thankfully we were able to help her hear with advancements in medical procedures.

    I understand how you feel to have a disability. I have chronic low back pain and fibromyalgia, I too have struggled with the fact that I can do things that I once enjoyed. Especially, when I am in flare mode.

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    1. No, unfortunately there isn’t likely going to be a treatment that would work for my eye condition within the foreseeable future. The implants they’re now using for people with degenerative retinal conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa require that your retina is attached to the back of your eye. My eye condition caused retinal detachment, so until they find something that works directly on the brain (or maybe the optic nerve), there is no way of restoring vision for me. Besides, I have been legally blind all my life so there is no way I’d ever be able to see even remotely like a sighted person. My brain just isn’t wired for that.

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  22. Kudos to you for sharing your story. I have a cousin that is legally blind. She had a flesh eating disease when she was about 6 years old and lost her vision. I’ve learned so much from her. Growing up I always had to help her but she was helping me become a better person in return.

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  23. So sorry to hear about your vision. My sight has been getting worse as I get older but could not imagine what you have been through. I pray things work out for you that someday with a new treatment, you get your sight back.

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  24. This is a powerful experience to share for your blogging prompt of ‘light.’ Just as you once had vision, maybe doctors will come up with something that can help you in the future. I can see how an adjustment like this is life-changing.

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