[Ohio-talk] Eyes are everything

richard rchpay7 at gmail.com
Mon May 16 09:40:50 UTC 2016

Hello Chuck Hallenbeck,
Will you email me off list with your contact information? Richard

-----Original Message-----
From: Ohio-Talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Chuck Hallenbeck via Ohio-Talk
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:08 PM
To: Marianne Denning via Ohio-Talk
Cc: Chuck Hallenbeck
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] Eyes are everything


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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