Losing SIght


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Seek Therapeutic Counseling for Vision Loss

It requires an anaesthetic injection into the eye, before a laser is fired repeatedly at the blood vessels at the back.

Losing sight

One side-effect of this is that it plays havoc with your retina. I remember one round of treatment skewing the sight in one eye around 90 degrees and making everything slightly pink for several hours. Looking back now I realise my consultant knew that laser treatment was almost certainly a futile gesture. Despite this no-one ever came straight out and told me the consequences of having advanced Diabetic Retinopathy, it was always spoken of in terms of progressive deterioration without ever mentioning the logical conclusion of that progression.

I do remember the day I admitted it to myself though. My sight had been steadily worsening over the months and it was a day in the spring of that it happened. I have no idea what prompted it, but I was walking down the stairs at home when it hit me like the proverbial sledge hammer — I would be blind. Until that moment I had never believed people when they said an emotional reaction could be like a physical blow. With absolute certainty I knew I would lose my sight and that I only had myself to blame.

I sat on a step a couple up from the bottom of the stairs and fell apart. I cried like a child. I cried for my lost sight, for all my broken dreams, for my stupidity, for all the books I would never read, for the faces I would forget, and for all the things I would never accomplish.

My doctor prescribed anti-depressants that effectively put me to sleep for about 23 hours out of every After six weeks I decided enough was enough and took myself off the meds for good. A curious thing had happened in the intervening weeks though. Whilst I was asleep my mind appeared to have wrapped itself around the enormity of what was happening. Over the ensuing months I gave up work as my sight continued to deteriorate, and I stayed at home and tried to keep busy.

Most people look baffled when I tell them that going stir crazy was one of the hardest things to deal with about losing my sight. People who know me understand that to me boredom is a fate worse than death or blindness as it turns out! There were days when I raged out of control. Days when I screamed and threw things at the people I loved just because they were there.

There was the day I stumbled in the kitchen and up-ended a draining rack full of crockery that smashed into a thousand pieces around me. Days too numerous to count when I bruised, cut, scratched or burned myself in pursuit of everyday tasks, and the rage and the tears would overwhelm me allover again. It took my relationship with the most important person in my life to the brink of collapse, but fortunately patience is one of his abiding qualities even though I tested it to the limit during those times.

My friends and family went through this every bit as much as I did, only they managed it with a degree of grace, humour and affection I was incapable of recognising at the time.

Towards the end of that year, not long before Christmas, the last of my sight vanished. To think of it now, it seems that I went to bed one night aware of a slight red smudge at the farthest reaches of my vision the standby light on the television , then woke the next morning to nothing at all. To offset what would otherwise be an incredibly boring view, my mind obligingly gives me things to look at instead. It shows me a shadowy representation of what it thinks I would see if I could — like my hands holding a cup of tea in front of me. Since my mind is constrained only by my imagination, it rather charmingly overlays everything with millions of tiny sparkles of light, that vary in brightness and intensity depending on my emotional state.

My retinas are long since gone, so no actual light makes its way to the backs of my eyes. This is what gives my eyes their peculiar look — each pupil is permenantly open to its fullest extent in an effort to take in light. Oddly this is the one thing that still makes me feel a little uncertain about being blind, but given that I no longer really remember what I look like, perhaps there will come a time when that uncertainty will fade. Looking back now I realise that was because I stopped trying to look at what I was doing, and started to use my other senses. The next few months were a time of discovery, sometimes painful, often frustrating, but also littered with good memories.

I did learn something far more important though. I discovered something called a screen reader.


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A piece of software that could be installed on my computer and which would speak on-screen content to me in a synthetic voice. I then decided to enrol on an online course with the Open University. For someone who could barely use a computer with a screen reader, it was something of a practical challenge though. It took me an entire day to figure out how to log into the course environment, and for a while every new task seemed to take as long. Day by day things got easier though, and by the time I finished the course I was well on my way to regaining an important part of my life.

AS I LAY DYING Losing Sight [2005] Shadows Are Security

One thing led to another, and I eventually graduated with a degree in computer science in I still find technology challenging sometimes, because we have yet to reach a time when things are engineered to be accessible as standard. That too is changing. So life moved on, as life has a habit of doing, and as I celebrated my 40th birthday last year perhaps it gave me cause to reflect. I was diagnosed in aged 7. The clinic was every 2weeks, a random blood sugar was taken with a huge needle kept in spirit and used for every patient. It requires an anaesthetic injection into the eye, before a laser is fired repeatedly at the blood vessels at the back.

Preventive Eye Care and Eye Examinations Are Important

One side-effect of this is that it plays havoc with your retina. I remember one round of treatment skewing the sight in one eye around 90 degrees and making everything slightly pink for several hours. Looking back now I realise my consultant knew that laser treatment was almost certainly a futile gesture. Despite this no-one ever came straight out and told me the consequences of having advanced Diabetic Retinopathy, it was always spoken of in terms of progressive deterioration without ever mentioning the logical conclusion of that progression.

I do remember the day I admitted it to myself though. My sight had been steadily worsening over the months and it was a day in the spring of that it happened.

Accessibility links

I have no idea what prompted it, but I was walking down the stairs at home when it hit me like the proverbial sledge hammer — I would be blind. Until that moment I had never believed people when they said an emotional reaction could be like a physical blow. With absolute certainty I knew I would lose my sight and that I only had myself to blame. I sat on a step a couple up from the bottom of the stairs and fell apart. I cried like a child. I cried for my lost sight, for all my broken dreams, for my stupidity, for all the books I would never read, for the faces I would forget, and for all the things I would never accomplish.

My doctor prescribed anti-depressants that effectively put me to sleep for about 23 hours out of every After six weeks I decided enough was enough and took myself off the meds for good. A curious thing had happened in the intervening weeks though. Whilst I was asleep my mind appeared to have wrapped itself around the enormity of what was happening. Over the ensuing months I gave up work as my sight continued to deteriorate, and I stayed at home and tried to keep busy. Most people look baffled when I tell them that going stir crazy was one of the hardest things to deal with about losing my sight.

People who know me understand that to me boredom is a fate worse than death or blindness as it turns out! There were days when I raged out of control. Days when I screamed and threw things at the people I loved just because they were there. There was the day I stumbled in the kitchen and up-ended a draining rack full of crockery that smashed into a thousand pieces around me. Days too numerous to count when I bruised, cut, scratched or burned myself in pursuit of everyday tasks, and the rage and the tears would overwhelm me allover again. It took my relationship with the most important person in my life to the brink of collapse, but fortunately patience is one of his abiding qualities even though I tested it to the limit during those times.

My friends and family went through this every bit as much as I did, only they managed it with a degree of grace, humour and affection I was incapable of recognising at the time.


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  6. Towards the end of that year, not long before Christmas, the last of my sight vanished. To think of it now, it seems that I went to bed one night aware of a slight red smudge at the farthest reaches of my vision the standby light on the television , then woke the next morning to nothing at all. To offset what would otherwise be an incredibly boring view, my mind obligingly gives me things to look at instead. It shows me a shadowy representation of what it thinks I would see if I could — like my hands holding a cup of tea in front of me.

    Since my mind is constrained only by my imagination, it rather charmingly overlays everything with millions of tiny sparkles of light, that vary in brightness and intensity depending on my emotional state. My retinas are long since gone, so no actual light makes its way to the backs of my eyes. This is what gives my eyes their peculiar look — each pupil is permenantly open to its fullest extent in an effort to take in light. Oddly this is the one thing that still makes me feel a little uncertain about being blind, but given that I no longer really remember what I look like, perhaps there will come a time when that uncertainty will fade.

    Looking back now I realise that was because I stopped trying to look at what I was doing, and started to use my other senses.

    see

    Vision Loss: Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Treatment

    The next few months were a time of discovery, sometimes painful, often frustrating, but also littered with good memories. I did learn something far more important though. I discovered something called a screen reader. A piece of software that could be installed on my computer and which would speak on-screen content to me in a synthetic voice. I then decided to enrol on an online course with the Open University.

    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
    Losing SIght Losing SIght
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