There’s an old saying that, depending on who’s doing the quoting, goes something like this: “You can’t really know a person until you walk a mile in his or her shoes.” That’s certainly true when it comes to grasping what it means to lose one’s eyesight to a retinal disease.
The biggest mistake many people make is assuming that, overnight, the affected person is enveloped by darkness. In reality, the loss of sight is progressive; at the very least, it takes months, usually years and sometimes decades. The Foundation Fighting Blindness is, of course, working hard to find treatments and cures that will eventually eradicate vision loss altogether.
But until then, it helps when someone affected by a retinal disease not only describes vision loss, but actually shows what it’s like. Today’s technological tools are enabling a growing number of people to do just that, and, as something of a representative sample, I put together an online piece for FFB’s newsletter In Focus earlier this year titled “Seeing Is Believing.” It features three brief profiles of extraordinary people and examples of their work.
Erin Howell, creator and star of the “Erin Going Blind” YouTube series, describes the ups and downs of losing her eyesight. Marc Muszynski, teaming up with a friend from the aggregator website Buzzfeed, created the video below as well as two others—of him navigating his hometown of Los Angeles and flying an airplane aided by a pair of electronic glasses.
But enough from me. I encourage you to check out “Seeing Is Believing” so that you can walk a mile in Erin’s, Marc’s and Diane’s shoes yourself.
Pictured, top: A with-and-without-RP slider image from Diane Healey’s website my life with RP.