The stereotypes surrounding sight loss

Hello everyone and welcome back to My Blurred World.

I hope you’re all doing really well.

Today’s post is another one relating to disability/sight loss. A topic that I often talk about on my blog is the many misconceptions made about vision impairment and the people living with it but as I was scrolling through my blog’s archives a few days ago I realised that I haven’t written a post dedicated to these stereotypes/misconceptions that I often refer to.

I am aware of the fact that there are many posts and videos out there nowadays surrounding this topic therefore I’m going to attempt to make my post a little different by talking about the points that might not have been mentioned or highlighted as frequently as others.

I want to note before we begin that I am in no way trying to make anyone feel guilty if you’ve made any of these assumptions in the past, I am aware that some people might ask questions/have some form of misconception due to curiosity and not having the knowledge of sight loss since it’s not something that everyone will come across in their daily lives. I am writing this post to purely highlight some of the stereotypes I’ve come across in my life living with sight loss and I’m writing it for educational purposes in the hope that it will raise awareness and that someone, somewhere can learn a little something from it.

I hope you enjoy today’s post and without further ado, let’s begin.

A photo of Elin leaning on a wall with flowers and trees around her

Blind/VI people must look a certain way

This is a point that many of us VI people make when talking about the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding sight loss but I wanted to include it in this post also as it’s an assumption that is made frequently. Some people seem to presume that blind/vision impaired people must have a certain ‘look’ about them. Dark glasses, old-fashioned or unfashionable clothing, you know, those things that make us ‘look blind’, do you know where I’m coming from? Although this is a look that some blind/VI people choose to go for (there’s nothing wrong with that of course), many people with sight loss like to make that effort with their appearance, me being one of them. I like to keep up with the latest fashion trends, try out new makeup looks, create different hairstyles etc and I know that many other blind/VI people like to do the same. Every blind/VI person has their personal style, we shouldn’t be considered unfashionable or that we can’t do things such as apply make-up etc because we find ways to make things such as beauty and fashion accessible for us in order for us to express ourselves and our unique style.

All blind/VI people are…

I don’t have an ending to this sentence so you might be wondering why I wrote it, well my point with this one is the following. Note the word I used at the beginning of the sentence? ALL blind/VI people are… Many make the assumption/have the misconception that all blind people have the same mind-set, have the same interests, that we’re all one big community that get along just because we’re living with sight loss therefore have something in common. This however is not the case. The fact that we have our vision impairment in common doesn’t mean that we’ll get along, at the end of the day, we’re all ‘normal’ people just like every single one of you reading this. We all have different personalities, different interests, passions, hobbies and so forth, the fact that we’re living with a disability doesn’t make us all the same. Every blind/VI person is different to the next just like any sighted person would be different to another.

Blind/VI people can’t use technology

A photo of apple mac, ipad and iphone

As times change and technology becomes more of a key part in our daily lives, this isn’t a misconception that is commonly heard of anymore but it’s definitely one I’ve heard of in the past. Technology is so advanced these days meaning that accessibility has improved and applications are being created in order to make life a little easier for us living with a vision impairment. I’d say that we’d be lost without the technology that is available to us nowadays. I personally make as much use of technology as I possibly can. I primarily use Apple products since the accessibility is the best I’ve found, this is just my opinion of course but I know many of my fellow blind/VI people also love their devices. I used to use the zoom feature on Apple devices which I found so helpful to magnify the screen on both my laptop and phone but as my vision deteriorates I find that I have to make more use out of the built-in screen reader which I also find to be very useful. It definitely makes using technology more pleasurable. I’d go as far as to say that I’d be completely lost without the technology that is available to us these days.

Blind/VI people can’t be independent

Independence, yes it can be a hard thing to gain but we as vision impaired people are perfectly capable of being independent and doing things for ourselves. Some have the confidence to do things such as travel independently due to the fact that they’ve learned the route or they can use services such as train assistance, I can’t deny that this service isn’t the best it could be in some locations but I know that there are people out there who are working to make a change with regards to this. I’m not claiming to be the most independent of people and I know I have things to work on in order to become as independent as I wish to be but I also know that my vision impairment can’t prevent me from gaining that independence. I know of blind/VI people who travel on their own, even abroad, who go to work everyday, cook, clean and everything else that someone without sight loss would do, apart from the obvious of course. My point is that blind/VI people can be independent if they are determined enough to be.

A photo of my best friend Holly and I  A photo of my friend and I

Blind/VI people can’t be friends with someone who is fully sighted

I didn’t ever consider this to be a stereotype or misconception that someone would have but I must admit that I have come across it and was quite shocked in all honesty. Living with a vision impairment doesn’t limit a person’s ability to make friends. I’m lucky to have made amazing friends in the sight loss community, one of them being my best friend who I’m so grateful to have met but I’m also very lucky in the sense that I have close friends who are fully sighted. My fully sighted friends accept my vision impairment, they realise that it’s something I live with but it’s not who I am and they’re always happy to support me and give me help/guidance when I need it. I think it’s great that I can be friends with people who might be in a similar situation to myself, who I can talk to about my experiences and share stories, tips and advice with but our lives don’t revolve around our vision impairment so it’s not something we talk about all the time and that applies for my sighted friends aswell, although my sight loss has proven to be a pressure on friendships in the past, it’s not something that affects my friendships now. My sighted friends don’t see me as someone who is disabled, they treat me just like they would any other person and I’m grateful to them for that.

I hope you found this post interesting or educational in some way. Remember that we blind/VI people are just as much a part of society as you are.. We shouldn’t be painted with the same brush as we’re all individual, we all have different thoughts, feelings and interests and we’re all unique as is every other person in this world, disability or not.

If you enjoyed this post then don’t forget to share it on social media as that would mean so much to me. As you know, one of my main aims is to raise awareness of vision impairment and disability here on my blog so I appreciate any form of support that is given to me.

Do you live with a vision impairment? What are some of the stereotypes/misconceptions that you’ve come across? Let me know in the comments or on social media as I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading as always.

Elin x

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4 Comments

  1. October 4, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Great post as always lovely! I completely agree with everything you’ve said and can definitely relate xxx

    • October 5, 2017 / 8:07 am

      Thank you lovely. I’m glad you enjoyed it and could relate xxx

  2. October 5, 2017 / 1:57 am

    Isn’t it amazing, that despite everything, you have chosen to live a fulfilling life!!
    You are a beautiful person both on the inside and the outside!!
    And Thank You for sharing your story! You are such a blessing

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