Low vision users – limitations and positivity

Disclaimer: This is ABSOLUTELY my personal opinion and views expressed here are entirely of my own and with experience of being user with low vision. By no means this post is to offend anyone but to raise awareness about people with low vision.

I often see posts in some public forums where members complain about instances that they have seen someone who despite having good amount of vision, avail benefits of people with disabilities claiming they are low vision. Unfortunately, this is absolutely true and happening at some places. Even I have seen people boarding into rail coaches reserved for people with disabilities claiming that they have low vision.

What prompted me to write this post is a recent comment that I have seen in one of the mailing lists stating that “My colleague has a short sight but able to read print material without a problem”. I don’t see any problem here. I believe, in general there is a perception that if a person has partial vision, they cannot read print material; which is not true.

It’s true that people with low vision do feel strain as they read but some of us do adopt to the situation. Here is my own experience. I have completely no eye sight in left and limited vision (perhaps 50%) in the right eye. But I still read all print material, use computer and mobile devices without using any assistive technologies but I look at the screen / book very closely. I’m able to do so because I have been doing this since my childhood. If I was aware of any assistive aids in my childhood, I might have used them but the environment I grew up, we didn’t know that there would be some tools that can help.

There was an incident happened when I was in 7th class, I was writing my final examinations of that class, invigilator was from a school for the blind. When she saw me keeping paper very close to my eye, she asked “Hello boy, why are you looking so close to the paper?” Me: “Teacher, I can’t see well” Teacher: They why did you not to opt to join in a school for the blind? Me: What? will there be a school for the blind people? Although we have got a chance to see Braille paper, we never knew that was read and write script for blind people.

Due to this lack of awareness, I have adopted myself to read printed material, write on my own and even today, I use computers and mobile devices by looking at the screen and not actually by using assistive technologies. Of course, I do customize a bit for better viewing. Somethings I do is increase size of my mouse pointer, increase contrast, enlarge at times etc.,

So to conclude, my request to community is make a judgement once you understand persons actual situation and not merely just by actions.

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