Tips for living with low vision blindness

by teddletonmr

Challenges low vision, and legally blind people learn to live with every day are overwhelming at first.

Chances are you will want to continue reading this article because you or someone you know, love or just meet has some vision loss or legally blind issues. With that said, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mike, living with low vision and legally blind issues sense 2001walk the walk, and talk the talk.
Let’s face the cold hard truth of the matter. For most folks like you and me, simply do not give vision loss problems a second thought. That is of course, until we, or should I say like me. Lose the detail vision portion of my eyesight. Not until I found myself faced with this set of challenges gave me reason to think about sudden vision loss issues. Let alone really care how my life would change. I now know and understand these things much better than before, and want to provide interested folks like you with things that will make transitioning from the normally sighted world, to living with low vision blindness less painful for all concerned.

Facing low vision problems

Losing eyesight as we get old is one thing where as sudden vision loss is another.

Oh sure, many folks grow old gracefully, after all I believe we will all agree failing eyesight helps us deny the appearance of our gray hairs, wrinkles, and hair loss that seem to sneak up on us as we grow old, find ourselves  gazing into the mirror. No longer reflecting our once upon a time youthful image, clear eyes, bright smile and let us not forget, our healthy head of hair.

I would argue not until we mistakenly put the contents of one of those similarly sized squeeze tubes we keep in the medicine cabinet on our toothbrush. Do we truly realize, understand, and admit to ourselves, especially when there is no one else to blame such mistakes on. There absolutely is something not quite right with our eyesight, making it time we swallow our pride and do something that affects positive change. 

On the other hand, sudden vision loss is another thing entirely. Most young, middle aged and older folks unfortunately find themselves experiencing sudden vision loss due to either predictable or unforeseen circumstance. Take for instance things described in the cautionary tales used by mothers around the world. That suggests this or that will put an eye out. Anyhow, next on the list of likely causes surely include illness and or disease such as, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or in cases like mine the Histo virus causing Ocular Histoplasmosis.

Accepting low vision and legally blind

80+% legally blind people have varying degrees of low vision we are not totally blind.

As we age, we tend to come to grips with gradual loss of physical strengths we possessed in our youth gracefully. Coming to terms with doing day-to-day things around our house and work place a bit differently has us doing most things smarter rather than harder. Unfortunately, most people do not think about losing their eyesight the same way. I believe we will all agree that when it comes to vision loss problems that may lead to blindness, to be honest scares the crap out of us all.

Max TV Glases

Low vision and legally blind folks use these glasses to watch TV without the need to set with our nose pressed against the screen

Regrettably, for most of us when we first realize we are experiencing sight issues, rather choose to deny having low vision problems. Thinking vision loss as more of an independent life ending weakness, much more so than any joint pain, weakening bones, tired old mussels, or waning self-esteem could ever be.

Feeling as though life just couldn’t get any worse, many of us rather try to conceal our eyesight troubles than come to terms with a perceived handicap. Not until we find it less painful to deal with the embarrassment and misunderstandings created by our minds eye influence on awkward, out of context actions, and off the wall statements we make. Do we fully understand the impact and harm we cause by allowing our pride influence these types of poor quality of life choices.

Understanding our minds eye

The mind’s eye more often than not interprets vague images based on memories when details are fuzzy.

Visual learners like me, grow up and learn everything they know to be true by relying heavily on their detail and peripheral vision. Sure, we also smell the roses, taste sweet and savory tastes, and feel the gentle breezes against our skin stimulating us to take appropriate actions. However, to get a better understanding of things going on around us, we need that all-important visual clue that confirms what we smell, taste, and physically feel. You see in our mind, our eyesight is the most important of our seven senses. Simply put, we visual types, rely on our eyesight to validate everything we smell, taste, feel, and hear.

4-power hand magnifier

I recommend this LED lighted 4-power magnifier is a must have item for folks with vision problems, fits neatly in a pant pocket, or handbag,

 Subsequently, I believe it important we take a moment to get a good understanding as to how. After a lifetime of visual clues stored away in the memory vault of our minds eye, certain smells, sounds, feelings, and partial images trigger certain visual memories in an attempt to make sense of things our vision loss prevents us seeing clearly.


What do you say we take the ole mind’s eye for a test drive? Come on, just set back, close your eyes, and imagine. Hearing the sounds of a wet stinky fart, then your nose detects the distinct aroma of a poop-filled diaper, triggering that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach, followed by the sounds of a fussy baby. Now I ask you, what image does your mind’s eye recall? I dare say for some, it is the baby leaving us a present in the diaper we just changed a few minutes ago. Others haven’t a clue. Where still others, recall the challenges of training a new kitten to use the litter box, or quite possibly training a new puppy, do its business outside and not on the hardwood floor, carpet or bed linens.

The important thing I believe we should all remember, the mind’s eye will play tricks on us from time to time when we are learning to live with low vision blindness issues. Learning to rely on our other senses, how to interpret and use the way things feel, sound, and smell will go a long way to filling in the blanks our low vision and legally blind problems challenge us with.

Updated: 08/16/2013, teddletonmr
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teddletonmr on 09/13/2013

ologsinquito, I understand and empathize with the challenges your friend has learned to deal with. For me coming to terms with the fact my once above average eyesight was lost to me forever. I found the inner strength to embrace my other senses and learn to do all those everyday things we all take for granted differently.
I surprise many people every day, many argue I must not really be legally blind with the way I get around, and interact with my surroundings. Dark sunglasses, baseball cap, white red tipped cane and all.

Be well, and best wishes. Mike

ologsinquito on 09/13/2013

Great article. I've never heard of the Histo virus. I once knew someone who has legally blind, and aside from the fact that she wore dark glasses when she was outdoors, and didn't drive, you'd never know it. She compensated so well.

teddletonmr on 08/18/2013

Mira, not until I found myself dealing with my vision problems caused by the Histo virus. After the doctor sharing his findings, and diagnosis with me. Did I have reason to recall ever hearing or reading something about how the virus became air born and affected many other people’s health.
The newspaper article I remember reading, went on to say something about the Histo virus generally spreads as dust in the air, or direct contact with bird poop. The article went on to say, and the doctor agreed, as an air born contaminate. Spread through bird droppings, affects 25% of the population living in the Ohio River valley of the Midwest United States.

Mira on 08/17/2013

This was rather chilling. I didn't know viruses could cause vision loss. Glad there are some things like those glasses or the LED-lit magnifier that help. But you're right: the majority of us are visual learners. Maybe that's a mistake. Maybe we should pay attention to all our senses from early on.

teddletonmr on 08/17/2013

Thanks for stoping Burntchestnut, I didn’t fully realize how sudden vision loss affected people’s lives. That is until I experienced losing the central vision in my right eye. Then a little over a year later while eating lunch pounding away at the keyboard lost the detail vision in my left eye.
As I’m sure you can imagine, that rather unfortunate turn of events caught me totally unprepared to deal with my newly acquired vision loss problems. That provided me the daunting task of learning how to live with the many new challenges of suddenly becoming legally blind.
it is my hope the tips in this article will help someone else learn to live with their low vision and legally bind issues.
Be well all, Mike

AngelaJohnson on 08/16/2013

Good advice and it's better to be prepared if the time comes that we need vision help.

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