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

Penny Duffy pennyduffy at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 01:21:47 UTC 2014

My daughter (who lost central vision at age 6) told me once.  "WHY would I
want my vision back? "
On Jul 31, 2014 9:08 PM, "Arielle Silverman via blindkid" <
blindkid at nfbnet.org> wrote:

> 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.
> Best,
> Arielle
> 1.
> 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.
> 2.
> 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.
> 3.
> 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
> earlier.
> 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
> identity.
> 4.
> 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.
> 5.
> I would without thinking about it for several reasons.
> 6.
> 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
> 7.
> 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.,
> 8.
> 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.
> 9.
> 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.
> 10.
> 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.
> 11.
> 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
> person.
> 12.
> 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!
> 13.
> 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.
> 14.
> 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.
> 15.
> 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.
> 16.
> 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
> Sight".
> 17.
> 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.
> 18.
> 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.
> 19.
> 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.
> 20.
> 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.
> 21.
> 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
> research.
> 22.
> Arielle, it's a hard question to answer, but I would really be fine
> with what I've got.
> 23.
> 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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