Eye Matters
May 31, 2011
Ignorance is hell

Dear Readers ,

In commemoration of Blindness Awareness Month, here is the 2nd Guest Article: Remember to keep the Blind in Mind

by Allan Thompson

When I went blind, I became deeply depressed. I was an avid Sci-fi and fantasy reader, video game player, and I loved board and RPG games and collecting movies.{{more}}

On top of that, I was a computer user who had just gotten a two-year degree as a computer technician. I had already landed an apprenticeship with a computer seller/repair store and I had built several computers from scratch.

I lost my sight, and the first thing to go was the girlfriend. We were already on the rocks, and me going blind was a very convenient way to ditch me. I wasn’t too upset, but it was the first in a long line of loss. I lost the apprenticeship, my degree became nothing more then a piece of paper, and I had suddenly lost everything I ever enjoyed in life. I made it worse because I had some small past experience with a blind person back in fifth grade middle school. I gave away my collections, my TV, the computers…I gave everything away, sat on my lazyboy, and waited to die in darkness.

You see, in the past, there was this blind kid in my class. He used a cane, and had enough sight to be able to use a CCTV to read the assignments.

Everyone gave him a hard time. They would steal things from him, or play keep away. They were always trying to grab his fold out cane, and mocked him to his face and his back. They would screw with his CCTV so that he had to reset it, and to top it all off, the teacher actually told him and the entire class that she thought he was faking his blindness.

That kid went through hell from children and adults alike, and while I didn’t do the things I described, I didn’t bother to help him either. He needed a friend to help him, but I was too busy with my own things to bother, which seem so trite now.

So that was my first and only impression of the blind. Victims of the world, living in bitterness due to their loss of sight and the strange invisible wall that blocked him away from the world and any potential normalcy.

So that was what happened.

So that is what I did, I shut off, and tuned out the world, because I felt there was nothing out there but a life of hard struggle…and life didn’t seem to important enough to bother anymore.

Some of my friends tried to understand what I was going through, but it was hard for them to get past my bitterness which I spewed. All my Self pity was my profession for quite a while and I was good at it. I had another friend try to put on a blindfold. He told me that he wanted to try to keep the blindfold on for a whole day and see how well he could cope with being blind. His experiment lasted all of ten minutes. He said that he couldn’t figure out how to do anything. I had told him that was pretty much what I was going through, only I couldn’t pull off the blindfold. He seemed to understand, but I was never sure how much his short experiment stayed with him.

After almost a year and a half of eye surgeries, pain, and the like I started thinking that if I was going to live, I needed to get help. I reached out to a church that had terrific people in it, who stood with me through the hard times I was going through. On top of my renewed faith in Jesus Christ, some counselors had started to tell me about all the organizations and technology out there that would help me live my life closer to normal.

The haze of my existence started to brighten quite a bit as I discovered computer use through jaws, cane training and training in how to do basic housekeeping.

I encountered a few blind friends who helped me as well. We would meet at least one time a month to eat and discuss anything on our minds.

I was really starting to become more “comfortable” with my life as a blind person, or at least as much as was possible for me.

Right now, I am happily married for the second time. I really feel like a stick pulled out of a bonfire and saved. As a Christian I give Jesus the credit for that renewed life, but I also am so grateful for the wonderful people who have showed me a whole new world that doesn’t have to be dark just because I couldn’t see.

This is why I believe that the more the blind are made aware of all that is out there for them, the more hope can be given to them. My greatest enemy when I became blind, was ignorance.

About the Author:

Allan Thompson had lived for 32 years sighted, before he lost his sight to diabetes. The proudest moments of his life have been the births of his two children, his service in the United States Air Force, and his renewed faith in Jesus Christ. He currently is a husband to a wonderful blind woman whom he adores, and is, at this moment, doing a survey of the Holy Bible and some fictional writing on the side, for personal enjoyment.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210