Eyesight is such a precious thing, something I think a lot of people take for granted. Being able to see the beauty and the detail of the world we live in, being able to see the faces of those you love. I’ve never been able to do these things, not clearly anyway. I guess I’m quite lucky in the sense that I do have some remaining vision and although that’s deteriorating everyday, I have an idea of how my friends and family look like, something I know many people unfortunately have never been able to do so I’m really grateful to have an inkling of how they look. However that picture I have of them is slowly fading away as my vision deteriorates and although that’s quite scary to me at times, I’ve always known that there was a really high chance that it would happen.
I started losing my vision at the age of three, I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP for short) at the age of six and was registered as being partially sighted, I was then registered blind/severely sight impaired at the age of twelve and have since been diagnosed with another condition called Optic Disc Drusen at the age of nineteen. I’ve lost a considerable amount of vision over the years due to living with these conditions, RP being the main cause of my sight loss and Optic Disc Drusen causing vision black outs which last for about a minute or so and can occur several times a day.
Many people have a number of questions about sight loss, you can read my post about the 10 most frequently asked questions here, but I recently realised that one I’ve never answered is do I want my eyesight back? Most of you would probably expect my instant answer to be a definite yes but for me it’s not that straight forward and I’m writing this post to explain why.
As I said, I started losing my vision at the age of three so a life with a vision impairment is all I’ve ever known. I’ve never been able to see the finer detail of this world we live in and although I wish I did, I’m ok with the fact that I haven’t and that I don’t.
A lot of people say that I must be looking forward to the day that I’ll be told that someone out there has found a cure for my eye conditions, the day I can get my eyesight back, but in all honesty, I don’t focus or think much about that because i don’t know if that day will ever come. Of course, it’s good to be optimistic and positive that maybe one day, something will come along that can help and I know that there are a lot of people in this world who are researching every single day which I think is incredible. Yes, the thought of a cure does occur to me from time to time but I push it to the back of my mind in my day-to-day life. I have to be realistic, I live my life now as a vision impaired person and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, and despite what some might think I don’t have a problem with that.
I go about my daily routine, making the adjustments I have to make to ensure that I can live my life as normal as possible. I’m ok making those changes because it’s what I’m used to, what I’ve grown up doing.
I can’t say that living life with a vision impairment is all plain sailing because it’s not, there are constant hurdles and barriers that need to be overcome. But although I have to face those hurdles, I’m quite happy living my life as a VI person, something I think a lot of people are shocked to hear.
Although there are many negative aspects, living with sight loss has brought so much positivity into my life aswell. It’s allowed me to meet amazing people, learn skills such as braille and it’s encouraged me to be a stronger person and to have a more positive outlook on life.
My life would probably be ‘easier’ if I did have perfect vision but in all honesty, I’m perfectly happy the way I am. Some might think that it would take all my problems away but it wouldn’t. A cure for my eye disease wouldn’t take away the problems I face, it would just mean that I would have different ones.
As I said, I’m happy the way I am, being VI has taught me so much, it’s allowed me to grow as a person (of course it’s not the only thing that’s allowed me to do that but it’s definitely contributed to it), its allowed me to learn things about myself and this world we live in. It’s given me the opportunity to hopefully raise some awareness and help and motivate others who might be in a similar situation, something I’m so passionate about doing.
Having a disability doesn’t mean that I can’t have a happy and fulfilling life, it means that I have to make adjustments but it doesn’t take away my happiness. It’s all about acceptance and since I’ve grown up with this disease that prevents me from seeing the world the way you do, I have accepted that. It doesn’t make me feel less capable, it doesn’t make me feel like I’m prevented from achieving what I want to, if something it drives me more to reach my potential and do what I love because I know that being blind/VI doesn’t take away from that ability.
In all honesty, if the world we live in could be made accessible in every way then being blind/VI might not even be seen as a disability as we could go about our daily lives without having to worry if something is accessible or not.
The fact that some people think that a cure is the only option makes me feel like I’m not good enough the way I am but I know that’s not the truth. Being VI isn’t something that needs to be changed or fixed. I feel perfectly good, happy and content the way I am, I don’t feel incapable or less of a person because of my vision impairment. I am just as normal as you reading this, the one thing that’s different is the fact that I can’t see but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy, that I can’t be successful, that I can’t be considered as a ‘normal’ person.
I don’t consider myself to be broken, I’m not living with something that needs to be fixed. Being blind/VI doesn’t make me any less human. I have my own personality, dreams, goals and ambitions just like you do, losing my eyesight doesn’t change that. In all honesty, if anyone would ask me what would be one thing I’d change about my life, my vision impairment wouldn’t be it. In my eyes, that’s a sign of acceptance and I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that.
Although I have my moments of grief and outbursts of sadness and frustration when I realise my vision is deteriorating, I’ve learned to accept it. I know that it’s a part of my life and as I said, I’ve grown up with it so I’ve never known a life with full eyesight and I’m ok with that.
So the final answer? Right now, no I don’t want my eyesight back and I’m not just saying that. I have accepted that I have lost most of my vision, I’ve accepted that I’m losing what’s left of it everyday. Yes, of course it’s scary, of course it’s frustrating at times but it doesn’t take away my happiness, it doesn’t take away my positivity and the fact that I want to achieve things in life.
If a cure does come along in the future then who knows, I might feel differently about this but right now I can’t live my life hoping for a cure when I know that I’m perfectly fine without one.
If you’re blind/VI or have any other disability and you want to be cured, I don’t blame you. Everyone has a way they want to live their lives and if you’d feel happier with a cure then there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s completely understandable. Everyone has their own journey that they have to go on in life and I think that this was meant to be mine, and you know what? That’s perfectly fine by me.
Did you expect me to give a different answer? Are you also blind/VI, if so then what are your thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear what you have to say.