[blindkid] Would you accept 20/20 vision if you could?

Arielle Silverman arielle71 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 01:08:14 UTC 2014

Hi all,

Just for fun, I asked my blind friends on Facebook whether or not they
think they would accept a treatment to give them 20/20 vision without
medical risks. I got a lot of thought-provoking answers on both sides
of the question I wantd to share. Names and identifying info have been
removed, but otherwise these answers are verbatim and unedited (note
the dictation mistakes). This is not a representative sample, just my
friends, but I think it's important for parents of blind kids to
understand blind adults' perspectives on this issue, especially when
deciding how much to invest in sight-preserving treatments for your
son or daughter.


I feel before going through such a process of getting vision back, I'd
have to survey the general public on something to the effect of--do
they appreciate the contributions I and other blind people make to
society, or is homogeny in ability more important? In short, I'd put
it off until later, when my work as a blind guy is done:). Evidently,
this perspective of mine is based on a civil rights and disability
rights understanding and appreciation.
Being blind for me is just as much a part of my identity as the rest
of me. I will always complain about transportation being difficult as
I think that's the hardest part of being blind, but I would not want
to see. There are people who treat us in inappropriate ways ranging
from vilification to worship fullness and all strange points in
between. There are people who believe we should not marry, should not
have children, should not work in their industry, should not go out in
public, should be institutionalized etc. my belief is that humans are
part of the universe trying to understand and perfect it's
consciousness. I believe blind people and other people who are not of
the more standardized varieties are here to eventually help humans
realize our full potential.
My answer would be no, i probably wouldn't do it, why bother, I'm
grateful for my life as it is without getting another sense. I don't
know if it's an age thing entirely, because i know some people who
have been blind since birth who would be first in line to get eye
sight. My answer would have been the same as it is now at age 16 or
I have more to say. I really wouldn't want to do it. I'm proud of who
I am as a blind person, I'm honored to be familiar with blind culture,
and I value diversity. I think that if I randomly decided to get rid
of that part of me in order to increase convenience in some areas of
my life, I would be sacrificing too many beautiful parts of my
my answer would be no for couple of reasons. First, I've not had any
vision so, I don't know what I would be missing. Second, I feel that I
was made this way for a reason. I know others would say that I am not
whole, but I disagree. So in essence my answer would be no.
I would without thinking about it for several reasons.
I don't think it's an age thing, not engirely. I know when I was
younger I would have been all over getting sight back. Some of it was
because of the usual adolescent desire to fit in, but it was also due
to a the fact that I didn't have training or an abundance of positive
blind role models. Now though, I consider sight as something I don't
need. Sure, it might make somethings easier--maybe. And well sure I'd
be interested in experiencimg it, maybe. But the learning curb would
be ridiculous: learning a whole new way of traveling, reading,
interacting with my environment... Nah, I'm all set
I would do it without so much as a second thought and hold onto my
long white cane as a souvenir. To be clear: i'm confident in my
blindness skills and ability to figure out alternative techniques when
I need to, for the most part blindness is only a minor barrier that is
relatively easy for me to jump over. However i'm tired of most people
acting under the assumption that blindness is pretty much my main, if
not my only defining characteristic so I would be thrilled to give up
that implicit part of blindness which I really have no control over.
Also, having good vision would, I think be useful in a lot of ways.,
I wouldn't change being blind. I have no desire to go out and get
site. Like Like others above have said, I feel that there is a purpose
for my being blind and, if I were not blind, I may not be able to
fulfill it in the fullest sense. I don't think it's an age thing. I
think it depends on how comfortable you feel with yourself as a blind
person and with yourself generally. I think it also depends on your
perceptions of what sighted life would be like. I personally don't
think that they really are all that different from us. If all I would
get from being sighted is the ability to reprint and drive, I don't
think it's a fair exchange. Yes, these would be useful, but my
experience isn't so hampered by not doing these things in the usual
manner. I still get around where I want to go and I find other ways to
gain access to visual information. I think it also helps to recognize
that other populations that can see have similar difficulties.
Dyslexic's can't read standard print very well and people don't drive
for a myriad of reasons. Obviously, reading and driving are
significant challenges for these populations, but most of them
wouldn't necessarily go out and change some fundamental part of their
life in terms of their identities.
I want sight because even though I have been blind since birth, I
"feel" sighted. Another way of putting it: my brain feels sighted. I
have an intense desire to express myself through visual media and to
work with colors (in a more fine-grained way than adaptive painting
tecniques would allow). I think I have a pretty good sense of who i'd
be as a sighted person, and I wouldn't be all that different, just
more myself because I'd have more opportunities to express my passion.
Attitude definitely improves with age and experience. But I'd still
take it if it was free, So I wouldn't change my 32 years of Blindness
for anything.
Its such a bug part of who I am. If it was totally free and absolutely
no side affects maybe I would. But I would still identify as a blind
For me, I'd have to learn how to be a compitant independent sighted
person. Its ironic, but true. Also, folks have mentioned blindness
being an intigral part of who they are, and it is the same for me. I
devote so much time and energy to working with blind people because I
can identify, because I'm there myself. Were I to magically become
sighted, would I be that effective? Would the blind youth at Chemistry
Camp etc. still look up to me as someone who is overcoming the
challenges they are facing? Not likely. I'd probably have to change my
whole focus. In short, no!
I agree with ___, even if one gained full sight, or if I did, I
believe I'd always identify as blind. I just don't think that much
experience could be undone, nor would I want it to be.
I wouldn't jump at the opportunity to have sight for many of the
reasons that others have already mentioned. I certainly identify as a
blind person--not that blindness is the first and foremost
characteristic that defines me, but I feel I would be kidding myself
if I were to say that blindness hasn't directly shaped how I perceive
and appreciate my environment, or indirectly contributed to my having
certain incredible opportunities and experiences throughout my
lifetime so far. For me, I don't believe that age has had much to do
with this; I remember from a very early age feeling bothered when
others sometimes suggested that it would somehow be better if I could
see. This being said, if I were to ever choose to experience sight, it
would only be for the sake of curiosity about having a new experience.
Sure, some tasks such as driving or looking at scientific data would
be easier with sight, and therefore I feel that I would see sight as
an assistive technology (which, like most other technologies, I'd
expect to have an on/off switch). Meanwhile at my core, I would very
likely still identify as a blind person--albeit one with access to
extra information, not as a sighted person who has somehow been
"fixed" or made whole in some way by gaining eyesight. Because I have
four other fully intact senses which I highly value and trust, I would
only even begin to consider vision if it were not to interfere with or
cause me to in some ways sacrifice my other senses or nonvisual ways
of interacting with the world. In other words, I feel that my
perceptual experience of the world is as rich as any sighted person's,
and I'd only think of taking sight if it were to enhance and in no
ways detract from my quality of life as it is.
I feel like I never quite fit into the cure, no cure conversations.
I've found that too many people just have to hear that disabled people
passionately want a cure so they can somehow accept that person while
hanging onto all their negative notions about disability. I don't want
that. But, I also find it unsettling the way rejecting a cure has
become a badge of disability pride. I don't choose to put my energy
into thinking about a cure, and I find myself feeling depressed when I
come in contact with doctors who are all over the cure. I also,
however, experience blindness as inconvenient and painful, and I'd
love to see everything my beautiful daughter is doing. I believe I can
still hold onto my convictions that disabled people have every right
to participate fully in our world, but also say that I think vision
makes things easier and I'd take it. In short, I'd take a cure, but I
generally reject the cure narrative, which suggests we should put all
of our energy into finding cures.
No, bause I don't think I could ever adjust to life as a sighted
person. I have lived my life as a blind person and have lived a good
life and I am not sure if I could ever mentally except my life as a
sighted person. This point is demenstrated in the movie "At First
No. I don't think I'd take it. Maybe for curiosity's sake, but I'm a
blind person and have been for nearly 24 years. If I was sighted, I'd
be expected to read print, drive a car, and using my other senses to
do things wouldn't be acceptible. I already know how to read, use a
cane and a guide dog, and enjoy what my other senses tell me about the
world. Lol Not like I have super hearing or whatever... Plus, like
someone else said, working with blind peopple and to change things to
make a more accessible world would be different as a sighted person.
And I'm happy to have my current place in all that.
I wanted to put in my two cents because I totally have the same view
as ___. Before I had kids, I probably would've said that I wouldn't
ever want to see. Now, I'm not as clear-cut about it because being
able to drive when you have one or more kids would be a huge help.
Especially because we live in the suburbs. I have wondered what my
children look like at times, and when people say things to me like "oh
your daughter looks just like her daddy," it makes me wonder about
what that looks like. Not like it's a huge thing, just something I'm
curious about. But mostly it's the driving. I can get around without
driving but in the suburbs, I've had a very har time transporting my
children easily. Most days I'm fine with my blindness but there are
days wehn the inconvenience gets to me.
It strikes me that by debating the cure question we're letting others
(or our culture) dictate the terms of our conversation. The broader
culture has held tightly to the cure narrative, and we've reacted
somewhat defensively at times. What would it mean if we refuse to
engage in the cure question and instead imagine our own agenda? For
me, it would mean focusing on issues that would have a much broader
impact on many people's lives rather than just people with my specific
eye condition. Public transportation comes immediately to mind. Having
solid public transportation systems that are fully accessible can
transform the lives of many groups of people, including disabled
people, low-income people, seniors, and the list goes on. These are
the issues I'd rather see our communities focus their energy.
My parents have been adamant about me getting cured if it was possible
and I've always been against it for all the reasons people have voiced
above. But now, as I live more and more independently, I'm thinking
that it might be a good thing to just make things a little easier. I
wouldn't have to depend on readers or other help that I use once in a
while, I could drive which would make a big difference especially in
where I could live, dating would be easier because I wouldn't have to
deal with people's stereotypes, and just other social things could be
better. I could go to a loud and crowded club without worrying about
getting disoriented. But I'm not fully on board with sight because my
blindness is such a big part of my identity and because I also feel
that I was made blind for a reason. So I guess I'm open to the idea of
a cure but I wouldn't jump at it.
I would have to say, maybe not. Even without the risks and side
effects, seeing for someone who grew up without sight would be a bit
much. I know that a lot of people couldn't know exactly why I would
say something like that, but let's just say that I've done my
Arielle, it's a hard question to answer, but I would really be fine
with what I've got.
Haha I need to wait till I'm out of college then I'll consider it!
(You get all the free stuff as a blind student in America!) But
honestly, If this starts becoming a reality like it is, there needs to
be rehabilitation counselors and sight-training teachers. It would be
like getting telepathy at age 20, then being thrown into a world where
everyone is an adept at telepathy and you have never had it before. It
takes some major major major major major readjustment and training to
start using sight as second nature. And like someone who loses their
sight at a late age, (20+), they will never be as competent as those
people who have been using it all their lives. They are behind so many
years and will only catch them up when they are at the end of their
life and everyone else starts losing their vision. The expectations
people will have of me as a sighted person will be very difficult to
deal with and frankly I'm scared. I would rather people still think
I'm blind till I'm used to the idea that I'm sighted. It is because I
know how to deal with expectations of being a blind person and have
not the faintest idea how I would cope with things in the sighted
world. And Beauty, that will completely change and I don't know if I'm
ready for that. But regardless, finding a cure is awesome and I am
totally for it and if someone offered it to me today, I would say yes,
but with vision muffling glasses.

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