[Ohio-talk] Eyes are everything

Chuck Hallenbeck chuckhallenbeck at gmail.com
Fri May 13 01:07:41 UTC 2016


I have been meeting with a low vision support group in Geauga
County, consisting of 8 or 10 elderly people with age-related macular
degeneration, and myself, a totally blind elder.  My experience has been
that the group is primarily motivated by the fear of going blind, and is
totally preoccupied with the details of their medical treatments and the
relative merits of their doctors.  The only kinds of adaptive devices
they are interested in a are those that enhance their failing vision.

Their attitudes are deeply held, and I believe they are instilled and
supported by their doctors, and by the experts who write books about
that condition.

I have tried to show them that it was not the end of the world to be
without eyesight, but that is a very foreign idea to them.  Last week I
brought my Talking Book reader to the meeting, and showed them ten Talking
Books on macular degeneration, urging them to supplement what their
doctors tell them with material published by experts.  They complained
that they don't like listening to tapes, cannot comprehend that Talking
Books are not on tape any more, and in fact several have returned their
readers to the library as being of no use to them.

One of the books had a chapter assuring them they will not "go blind"
and will never have to use a dog guide.  Another book emphasizes the
importance of eyes by asking the reader to "imagine not being able to
ever read a book again."  When that passage was played for the group,
I stopped the machine and pointed out that we were at that very moment
reading a book just fine without anyone using any eyes to do so.

I am very pessimistic about being able to help persons in the group to
adopt more constructive attitudes toward their condition.  And frankly,
the audio books I called to their attention were not all that helpful,
but they were the only ones available.  They, like the group members
themselves, emphasized the medical treatment details and seemed to regard
the loss of sight as the end of the world.

I'm sure there must be more enlightened medical authorities out there
somewhere, but they are certainly in a minority if they are.


On Thu, May 12, 2016 at 08:10:27PM -0400, Marianne Denning via Ohio-Talk wrote:
> I saw a commercial tonight for vitamins for people with macular
> degeneration.  At the end it says, "your eyes are everything."  Does that
> mean that those of us with no vision are nothing or people who are legally
> blind are only 10% something?
> -- 
> Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
> Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
> (513) 607-6053
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