by Alison Bates, SSW Tech Advisor
Ok, so I will start off by saying I didn’t actually notice I am blind. Earlier this week I had an appointment with the eye clinic and during the visit a doctor suggested I be registered as sight impaired. I was pleased as I have been asking about this for the last few years but got fobbed off and didn’t pursue it.
Today I had a sight care advisor call me to ask some questions, so that she could get the paperwork sorted to get me registered as severe sight impaired. I had to ask her to repeat herself as I thought I was being registered simply as sight impaired. She apologised as she had been told I had consented to being registered, which I had: I just had just assumed it was for sight impairment.
Sight impaired means partially sighted, and severe sight impaired means blind. But I can see – sort of – out of one eye that randomly goes blurry. But I CAN SEE! It’s just hard work. ‘Blind’ doesn’t mean no vision – I know that – I just never really considered that my sight was that bad.
Then I remember I can’t read books anymore, not the paper ones anyway. I can’t make eye contact with people because I can’t see their eyes; I can’t even see my own eye colour in the mirror. So this, and so much more that I don’t even take into consideration, means that legally I am blind.
This changes nothing about me or my sight except a bit more self-awareness. Maybe I will be more patient with myself and allow more time to process things, ask for help and – even better – still accept help when its offered rather than just trying to stubbornly get on with it (yeah, right).
Alison Bates, official BLINDO