I am and have been visually impaired from birth, In my one eye my vision is 20/200 which means that something a person with perfect vision would see 200 feet away It’d only be able to see it from 20 feet. In my other eye I can barely see well enough to count fingers. I’ve had some cornea transplants when i was a kid to make my eyes better but that wasn’t permanent. One thing I do not do is whine about not being able to see, it is what it is. This would get me now where.
I do remember some parts of the first cornea transplant I had. I spent days in Wills Eye hospital. My Nan stayed there with me because my parents had to take care of my brothers. I remember the preacher from her church coming to visit and nuns from Philly would visit. The oddest thing I remember is trying to watch cartoons when I came home and the patch was off my eye. The TV was too bright, but I had to watch it. Star Blazers was my favorite cartoon at the time. The wave motion gun was painful to watch because of the brightness.
I’ve always gone to a normal public school. My parents were told of the option of schools for the blind, but they thought it would be better if I went to a normal public school. I think that was the correct decision, and I’m glad that’s what I did. Sure I would have had more options of things being accessible to me but I know real life doesn’t work that way. Gotta make what’s available work the best you can.
When I was in middle school I had a cornea transplant and the doctor told me I had to miss school for two weeks. I had an asshole teacher who insisted I was faking having it done and just wanted a vacation from school. The other thing that sucked about that was not being allowed to swim and gym class at that time was swimming. They tried to make me write about swimming in the pool room. Needless to say I took an F. I suppose I wore ugly safety glasses to protect my eyes for fun? I tried all the actual lenses they had to make glasses for me at the doctors office multiple times but none really helped.
After the cornea transplant, I was amazed at what I could see. I could see people’s eyes and recognize faces for the first time in my life. I could see texture to walls and almost everything. Every day I was amazed by what I could see that I didn’t know I’d been missing. People’s eye color was something I became obsessed with. I mean I knew it existed from reading about it of hearing people talk about it, but I never could see it. I probably annoyed the hell out of people telling them what I could see.
One morning I woke up and opened up my eyes. I saw nothing but a blur from my good eye that had had the cornea transplant. I went back to the eye doctors, and they had me taking eye drops every hour 18 hours a day for a while. My vision came back for a while, but then it slowly blurred again. The eye doctor said I had the option of trying another cornea transplant but each time it’s done the chances of it working are lower. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Let that cornea go to someone else so they’ll have a better chance of getting something out of it than I would.
Sometimes I wish I was never able to see so well. It wouldn’t be so depressing at times if I didn’t know what I was missing. Most times I’m thankful to have had the chance to see what I can’t now.
I do use a handheld monocular to see distant things. I use cheap ones from amazon because they get abused and eventually broken or lost anyways. You’d be surprised how many people are assholes about it. I’ve been accused of recording with my “camera” or checking things out to steal them (the latter was by uneducated police officers.) I’ve been questioned about my “camera” at movies too. I should have educated the manager on that. No one questions someone using a cane or wheelchair.
I try to have a small magnifier on me at all times.. I prefer cheap folding ones from amazon opposed to the expensive ones you can buy. Sure the expensive ones would be a bit better but let’s be real here. My vision is too shitty to see the difference. Like the telescope it’s just gonna eventually wind up lost anyways.
Lately I’ve realized I can use my phone’s camera in a bind to see things that are distant. It actually seems to increase the brightness and contrast.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time in a depression focusing on what I didn’t have. The best thing I ever did was learn to accept what I do have and just be happy with it. I mean it is what it is. If I ever see any alternative to donor cornea that seem to have long term success I’ll consider it then. Life is just too short to dwell one the negative aspects of it. I mean shit I woke up today so that’s a gift of another day.