018: 5 Myths About Being Visually Impaired

[Podcast] Smashing 5 Myths About Sight Loss - Episode #18

The general population has their own idea of what it is like to be visually impaired or blind. They get these understanding from movies, TV shows and other such media. The only problem is that most of the time, these stereotypes are incorrect. Or, at the very least, grossly over exaggerated. This leads to people assuming certain things about sight loss and blindness that simply couldn't be farther from the truth. So, today, we'll bust five such myths about sight loss and give you the truth about each.

Question of the Week

Question: My sight fluctuates depending on the day, weather conditions, emotional state, etc. What do you say when someone asks you “How much can you see?”

Answer: That's a great one! My advice is to be as basic as possible. If it is someone you know well, you can go into more detail. But, if it is someone you just met, just give them the basics. You can give them more if they ask follow up questions. Also, phrases like “tunnel vision”, “central vision” and “depth perception” make sense to most everyone, so that might make it easier to explain as well. In the end, share as much as you feel comfortable!

If you want to submit a question, just drop me an email and let me know!

Myth Busting

Lots of people have their ideas about sight loss and being blind. But, so often, they are wrong. Here are just a few myths that need to be busted!

1. Other Senses Get Better

Thanks to things like Daredevil, everyone assumes that after you lose your sight, you can hear like a bat or something. But, I have not experienced this and neither have most of the blind people I know. Simply put, we cannot hear better than you but we do learn how to use it differently. For example, crossing the street is usually a sighted adventure. But, for a VIP, listening to the traffic becomes more important. Therefore, we become “better listeners, not better hearers per say.

2. All VIPs are Totally Blind

This one couldn't be more untrue. In fact, the last statistic I saw suggest that over 90% or 9 out of 10 blind people had some usable vision. So, when you see someone who looks like they can see but has a white cane, most likely they are visually impaired with some limited sight remaining.

Podcast Episode on Definition of Blindness

3. Blind People are AntiSocial

I think this one comes from the fact that at gatherings like cocktail parties, a lot of blind people will find a place to stand instead of maneuvering around a room they have never been in. This might look a little standoffish to some, but it doesn't mean they don't want to be social. Actually, I am extremely social! It's just this darn sight impairment that gets in the way! This can also be assumed because getting out and about is a chore for blind folks, so they may not go out as much. But, again, doesn't mean we are antisocial. That comes down to the person themselves, not the sight loss.

4. VIPs don't like Sight Intensive Activities

People might assume that things like rock climbing, laser tag and going to the movies might be activities that blind people don't ever do. But, again, this just isn't true. I love the movies and have played my fair share of laser tag. There are VIPs across the world climbing mountains, running marathons, making Youtube videos and so many other things that might appear to really need sight. I guess Marty McFly's dad was right: You can do anything if you put your mind to it.

5. Blind People Hate Sight Related Words

Words like “look”, “see” and “watch” might seem awkward to say around a blind person. But, for most of us, it isn't a huge deal. In fact, I get annoyed when someone asks me, “Didi you see…I mean…did you hear that movie?” It's ok…you can say the word. I won't explode. These words are just part of the culture and we are't offended. Actually, it's probably worse when you try not to say them. Don't treat us like we are weird…unless we are. But, it won't be because we are blind.

You Know What Assuming Does

Those are just a few myths that most people assume about blind people. And, if you have just lost your sight, maybe you did too. But, as you can see, there are just some misconceptions. I'm sure I missed a few, so let me know in the comments below if there are any you have heard of!

Word of the Week

TRUTH

A man once said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (That was Jesus, but I won't dwell on it too long.) But, it is important to find out what is true in life. In this case, we spoke about myths. Therefore, we must learn what is actually true about sight loss and being blind so that we can approach it in an honest way.

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