I Saw…: Coping with Vision Loss in the Age of Social Media

Today’s optional prompt at Life This Week is I Saw…. We are supposed to share photos of what we saw lately. This got me thinking. I saw… nothing really, as I am blind.

I have been totally blind with some light perception since the age of eighteen or so. At age eight, my parents decided to give up on my eyesight, so all reports say I went blind at that age. I didn’t. Legally, yes, but I’ve always been legally blind. Functionally, maybe. I started learning to read Braille at the age of seven. Then again, as a person who lost his vision gradually later in life told me, going from 20/1000 vision to none is worse in some ways than going from 20/40 to 20/1000.

I have more or less accepted my blindness now. Even so, with just a tiny bit of light perception left, I still use it. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do.

One of the most annoying aspects of blindness for me, as a blogger, is being unable to take pictures. I know some blind people have learned to take pictures, but my parents always instilled in me that photos are for the sighted and I shouldn’t want to pursue a visual activity like this. For this reason, I don’t feel comfortable trying to learn to take pictures. I mean, I feel pretty arrogant for believing I could even ever learn to take pictures.

I did mention to my staff that I may want a tripod or selfie stick or whatever for my birthday. Then again, I fear I’ll knock it over and ruin my phone if I’m not careful.

Maybe I need to ask other totally blind people how they take pictures and how they make sure they are blog-worthy or whether they don’t care.

I remember one day, when I was at the blindness rehabilitation center, the staff asked each of the clients in my group what would be the most important thing we’d do if we regained our sight. Many said they’d be able to travel more independently. I said I’d go into nature and enjoy the sights. Right now, I’d say I’d take lots of photos for my blog.

12 thoughts on “I Saw…: Coping with Vision Loss in the Age of Social Media

  1. Goodness me, your parents’ attitude in regards to pictures just reeks of ableism to me. I mean, yes, there may be no sense in a way since you can’t see them anyway, a lot of completely visual stimuli are abstractive to the blind, and it IS difficult so I personally don’t even bother learning, especially that I do not have light perception and I imagine it must be even more difficult when you can’t see the light, but if it’s something you would really like to do and are interested in, I find it really cruel that they didn’t let you pursue it, in any way that would be possible to you. As if sighted people were some sort of an elite club, haha. I hope you will be able to take pictures at some point, even though I don’t do this and think there’s image overload in the Internet and the world in general I do think that it always makes a blog more interesting and engaging. And, if I had some light perception, I definitely would use it too. From what I always heard at school being spoken to other students who had some residual sight or light perception everyone was saying that they actually should make use of it so I don’t see why not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for saying all that. I was always told at school that I used my residual vision too much. Then at the blindness center some people said I was totally blind and others said to make use of my light perception when it served me.

      I agree there’s image overload on the Internet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. awwww as eirlysgwenllian said higher up, not letting you take pictures sounds pretty ableist to me too !!! And i don’t think your desire to take pics is “arrogant” at all !!! Also, I was wondering (but please don’t feel like you have to answer if you don’t want to), why did so many people advise you not to use your light perception? Anyway big hugs as usual xxxxx Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting. I don’t know really why people said I shouldn’t use my light perception. Here in the Netherlands, there’s this gap between those using large print and those using Braille. Those using large print are encouraged to use their vision as much as possible, while those so-called blind people are discouraged from using any residual vision. I think honestly everyone, including those with enough vision to read large print, should be able to benefit from the best of each world.


  3. You need to do whatever you want to do Astrid. If you think your blog needs photos you can put them there because it doesn’t matter if they are blog worthy it still gives your readers a connection to you. I gave my camera to me 4 year old granddaughter (well she actually took it without asking) and she took lots of photos. Most are blurry, some are of the ceiling, others are of my legs and feet but I love them because she took them. You could also do a visual through words, describing something for your readers, the feel and texture. I for one would love to read your imagery.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is very hard to challenge old beliefs and choices made on your behalf by your parents. I do hope, that whatever it is you choose to do, you get to do so. Thank you for linking up today for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is 23/51 Life Stories #2 8.6.2020 where I will be doing a part 2 on being a grandmother. Do link up any post, old or new it does not need to be on prompt. Looking forward to seeing you there, Denyse.

    Liked by 2 people

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