Tag Archives: sight

Can sight be a hindrance?

As practical as I can imagine being sighted must be I sometimes think sight can be a very big obstacle.

I was discussing a new type of vegetable pasta with a friend of mine and told her how much I liked it, because it didn’t drop my blood sugar levels the way regular pasta does. Especially white pasta. It even tasted like regular pasta. Her reaction was quite funny. She started lecturing me about how stupid the advert was and that she wasn’t tempted to try it at all because of it. Besides, the pasta was different colours because they had different vegetables inside them.

What surprised me, was that just from seeing, the pasta had put her off. I also thought that pasta came in different colours, because I’ve seen that in Italy. But that’s beside the point. The conversation taught me just how quickly sighted people use their sight to judge and that’s sad.

Sight is a remote way of perceiving the world around you, meaning that there’s no need to get up close with objects or food to get a rough idea of what they are. But the key for me here is remote. You’re not up close and personal with what you see, well not always anyway. So if you see something new, you can’t really know what the object is like.

Food is a great example of this. I used to waitress in Dans Le Noir in London. A restaurant where diners eat and drink in the dark, not knowing what they are eating and drinking. One thing a lot of customers said when they came out after their meal and was told what they had consumed and saw pictures of it was: “I’m glad I didn’t know what it was, or saw it, because I probably wouldn’t have chosen it. But it tasted divine.” That tells me sight is a weak sense. But unfortunately a weak sense that has taken over most sighted people’s lives and dulled their other senses.

Sighted people also judge people faster and sometimes on unfair grounds. Blind people do this too, but usually based on more than just appearance.

One time for instance, I was going out to meet my class mates in St Helier, the capital of Jersey where I went to summer school to improve my English. I was sixteen and my host family was scared to let me go on the bus by myself, but they couldn’t exactly force me to stay in.

My bus came in a little earlier than the other girls busses. I decided to cross the road to the point where I was meeting them, but I missed the crossing. And before I knew it, I had three Jersey skater boys offering me a hand. We had been warned not to mix with, or date the locals. Apparently Jersey girls hated Scandinavians, claiming that they stole their boys, and there had been some ugly cat fights, so when a couple of the other girls stepped off their bus and saw me with the boys, they came running and out of breath asked me if they had done something to hurt me. In fact, the boys had been extremely polite and well behaved, but apparently they looked a little trashy. Perhaps if I’d been sighted, I’d not been so nice to them.

So here’s a challenge for my sighted readers. Next time you’re in a new place, close your eyes and experience the place for a few minutes without sight. Do you notice something you didn’t when your eyes were open? Do you smell, hear and feel things you didn’t realize were around you? This is also good to do in a familiar place, like your favourite café.

I always joke that if I get to see one day, I’ll be a ninja, because all my senses will be so well developed. Just imagine how much richer your world would be if all your senses played as big a role in your life as sight. I personally think it would be pretty awesome.

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If I could suddenly see

Let’s imagine I woke up one day and I could suddenly see. 20 20 vision and I also knew how to see so I didn’t have to learn it.

Many people have asked me how I would spend my first day with sight. And this is what I would do.

First of all, I would enjoy putting on make-up. Seeing how different colour eye shadows and eye liners changed how I looked. Being creative with new combinations.

Make-up on along with a killer outfit I’d put together for the first time with sight, I’d walk out of my house and continue walking, enjoying the fact that my eyes would help me memorize the route along with my other four senses. I would look at shop windows and enjoy not having to wonder what shop was behind each door.

Then I would go in to a bookshop, browse the books and buy one I really wated to read. I would take it to a park with a nice bench where I’d sit down and read. Maybe I’d listen to music too, or maybe not. I would at least enjoy the fact that I was holding the book, turning the pages and that the book was a normal, regular print book.

Hungry after a few hours in the park, I’d go to a random café, scan the menu and order lunch. There, I would pick up a newspaper and read it. Enjoying too that this was print.

In the afternoon, I’d go cycling. And I’d go to a supermarket and browse the shelves, finding new products I didn’t know existed. And in the evening, I’d watch a movie or two, not needing audiodescription or explaining what happened.

I guess this is a pretty boring, average day. But for me, doing these things would be pretty cool as I can’t do them now. I rely on technology, audio and the internet to manage on a day to day basis. And though I’m not complaining about that, it would be cool and exciting not to need a phone to read a newspaper, or the internet to discover new supermarket products.

I would of course sign up for driving lessons pretty quick too.

One thing I would still do if I got sight though, is to keep using my other senses. My sensory world is in some ways more varied without sight I think, because I have to use so many other clues to work out my surroundings And with sight, I’d be a ninja woman.

And wouldn’t it just be nice to turn off the JAWS or the voiceover? I’d certainly love that. That way I could chat on what’s app while listening to music on my phone.

From a blind person’s perspective

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but for many reasons, I’ve not felt very motivated to do anything lately.

But today I’d like to share a hilarious e-mail I received a while back. I don’t know who wrote the original text, but it certainly was a genious in my oppinion. And it’s great to see something written from the perspective of a blind person towards the sighted majority.

This text is not meant to offend anyone, but is just a humorus perspective on sighted people through blind eyes. Pardon the pun.

People who use their eyes to acquire information about the world are called sighted people or “people who are sighted”. Legal sight means any visual acuity greater than 20/200 in the better eye without correction or an angle of vision wider than 20 degrees.

Sighted people enjoy rich, full lives working, playing and raising families. They run businesses, hold public offices, get arrested and teach your children!

How do Sighted People get Around?

People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation but most choose to travel long distances by operating their own motor vehicles, usually one passenger to a car. They have gone through many hours of extensive training to learn the rules of the road in order to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a legal classification and a drivers license which allows them to operate a private vehicle relatively safely and independently.

How do you assist a sighted person?

Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. This means that in many situations they will not be able to communicate orally and may resort to stammering, pointing, hand waving or other gesturing. Subtle facial expressions may also be used to convey feelings in social situations. Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly in a normal tone of voice. Questions directed at the sighted person help focus attention back on the verbal rather than the merely visual.

How do sighted people remember things?

Often they don’t remember things. In fact this is one of the most painful aspects of the visual affliction, the degree to which sight inhibits detailed memory. Often, the sighted person must reacquire the same information each time it is needed. You can help by being sensitive to their struggle by learning to anticipate their need and providing them with the information they need when it is necessary. Don’t tell them too much too quickly. Be sensitive to the capacities of the individual with whom you are dealing. These limitations vary from person to person and it is deeply upsetting to a sighted person to realize that you recognize their mental short comings.

At times sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routs and landmarks, bumps in the road, and traffic lights will assist the sighted person in finding their way quickly and easily. Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and office buildings. Sighted people tend to be very proud and are reluctant to ask for assistance. Be gentle yet firm.

How do sighted people use computers?

The sighted person relies exclusively on visual information. His or her attention span fades quickly when reading long texts so it is best to write in bulleted lists of very brief items. The use of bright colours will help the sighted person stay focused. Computer information is presented to the sighted in a graphical manner to assist them in comprehending their world. Coordination of hands and eyes is often a preoccupation with sighted people so the computer mouse, a handy device that slides along the desk top, saves confusing keystrokes. With one button the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily, if not necessarily efficiently. People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer, falling asleep between syllables or becoming distracted by a spot on the carpet. Be patient and prepared to explain many times how your computer works.

How do sighted people read?

Reading is accomplished by the sighted person through a system called “print,” which is a series of images drawn in a two dimensional plain.
People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch.
Braille is completely foreign to them and severe bouts of disorientation can sometimes result from over exposure to the use of the higher senses.

Sighted people cannot function well in dimly lit conditions and are generally completely helpless and often devastatingly frightened in total darkness. Their homes are usually very brightly lit at great expense as are businesses that cater to the sighted. Naturally these costs are passed on to the consumer.

How can I support the sighted person?

People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to live, work, and play alongside you on as equal a basis as possible. You must ignore their tendency to display feelings that they are superior to you.
Failing to allow them this delusion may promote aberrant and antisocial behaviour. The best thing you can do to support sighted people in your community is to simply open yourself to their world and help open their limited world to the bounty of your experience. These citizens are vital contributing members of the community, real people with thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams and a story to tell. Take a sighted person to lunch today and make them feel like you truly care.

Author Unknown