By Elin Williams – My Blurred World
“How much can you see? What can you see? Can you see me?”
“I could go on and on when it comes to the different ways in which people have asked me how much I can see, Who knew there could be so many variations of one question?
This week marks 10 years since I was a 12-year-old girl sitting in an ophthalmologist’s office, hearing him utter the word “blind”, a word that recirculated in my mind as my Mum guided me back through the hospital corridors, my eyes still stinging and feeling ridiculously sensitive as a result of the drops that had dilated them a couple of hours before.”
“I knew that this day was inevitable, having experienced steady deterioration for a while but this new label still came as quite a shock and it’s safe to say that I found it tricky to comprehend the reality that I was now living.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll most likely be acquainted with the details of my sight loss story, but if you’re new to My Blurred World, I’ll quickly run through them for reference.
My first symptoms were noted when I was three-years-old; my parents realised that I couldn’t see in the dark and I was constantly referencing the fact that I couldn’t see certain things in daylight too. This, of course, sparked concern and, after three years of being tested and prodded, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) when I was six.
RP is a degenerative condition so whilst I was registered as partially sighted to begin with, deterioration was inevitable and I grew to understand that my level of eyesight would waver as time went by.
RP delivered on its prognosis and the disease clipped away at my eyesight ever so slowly, stealing little glimpses of the world as I grew up.”
“It was when I reached the ripe old age of twelve that the doctors decided to change my registration from partially sighted to blind/severely sight impaired which, as I touched on before, knocked me for six at the time.
Since then, my eyesight has deteriorated more rapidly, ushering me even closer to ‘blind’ as my world is blanketed further by blur and darkness.
Whenever I disclose my vision impairment to people, I’m often met with an endless list of questions, but the one that always comes out on top is ‘How much can you see?’
I mentioned in my last post that vision impairment isn’t black and white, it’s not a case of being partially sighted or completely blind. It’s a vast spectrum that’s rich with different perspectives. ‘Blind’ or ‘Severely sight impaired’ can be umbrella terms for a wealth of different experiences and views of the world so it’s most definitely not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
Whenever I’m asked how much I can see, I’ll typically deliver my answer by saying that I can see lights, colours and shapes but details are limited for me. However, if I were to give more of a nuanced take, this is how I’d describe my eyesight in a way that does it the most justice:
My eyesight is like an old camera which is constantly out of focus. That focus deteriorates day-by-day and the shutters are slowly closing in, casting black shadows around the edges of the photo that’s fighting to be taken.
I also have an ongoing personal firework display in my view; little flecks of light collect in the bottom corners of both eyes, dancing away. Sometimes those lights decide to sprout upwards before raining down in hues of yellows, blues and pinks.”
“A few people have suggested in the past that I should try my hand at doing a video or a collection of photos that capture how I see the world, so I thought I’d give the latter a go today and try to depict my view in a few shots in an attempt to portray the world, Elin style.
Despite the utter brilliance of cameras and editing apps that we are treated to these days, no amount of editing could possibly capture the true essence of what I see. But the photos you’ll see in this post will hopefully convey the closest representation that can be mustered through technology.
This will in no way be of any professional level but I thought it might be interesting to give this a go and hopefully bring you a perspective that I haven’t shown on my blog before, and what better time to do so than in honour of this 10 year checkpoint?
I should also give a little disclaimer before we get into it; This is purely my own perspective which will in no way represent everyone living with RP. Like I said, sight loss is such a vast spectrum so no one’s experience will be identical so please do bare that in mind.
And one more thing; Lighting conditions, tiredness and distance can all contribute to fluctuations in my eyesight and what level I’m granted at one given time so this is just a general take on what I see. You won’t see the flashing lights in my view in the upcoming photos either since they’re something that can’t be replicated through an app.
Anyway, I’ve wittered on for long enough now so let’s see how this turns out, shall we?”
HOW I SEE THE WORLD; 10 YEARS AFTER BEING REGISTERED BLIND
OUT AND ABOUT
For Elin’s full article, and more photographs PLEASE CLICK HERE