My research topic is about blindness. The reason why I want to learn about blindness is because I want to know what causes blindness and how blind people live with blindness. I think this relates to Temple Grandin’s chapter “From the Margins to the Mainstream” in The Autistic Brain because autistic people play to their strengths like Grandin said. Just like how blind people play to their strengths such as hearing and touching.
Blindness is strictly defined as the state of being totally sightless in both eyes. The word blindness however, is commonly used as a relative term to signify visual impairment, or low vision. Color blindness is not true blindness. Color blindness is when you can’t see the difference in different shades of colors, mostly green and red. Only 8% of males have it and under 1% of women have it. In the whole world about 300 million and 400 million people are visually impaired due to various causes. Approximately 50 million people are totally blind. Only 80% of blindness occurs to people who are over the age of 50.(Andrew A. Dahl) This is what blindness is.
Therefore there has to be a cause to blindness and how it is preventable. There are many things which cause blindness. Sometimes babies are born blind. Many older people lose their vision from macular degeneration.(“Macular degeneration causes loss in the center of the field of vision. In dry macular degeneration, the center of the retina deteriorates. With wet macular degeneration, leaky blood vessels grow under the retina.”)(Andrew A. Dahl) Glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are the 3 most common causes of blindness today. Also diseases in the cornea or retina, ocular inflammatory causes blindness. However there has to be a way to prevent blindness. Blindness can be prevented through education and access to good medical care also through a proper diet that won’t cause diabetes which can lead to blindness. This is what causes blindness and how it can be prevented.
As a result blind people use many strategies to walk live and work. For blind people guide dogs are an option but there are also braille compasses. Blind people will usually move around by memory. An example of them moving around by memory in Temple Grandin’s movie is when Temple gets a roommate in college and it is a blind person and she asks Temple to not move anything so she knows where the things are. The Autistic Brain “On less familiar paths, most people use a white cane to search for obstacles.”(gdabvi) Blind people can also identify coins easily because of their size and if they have ridges on the sides just like quarters and dimes. They can tell paper money by folding it different ways. There is no standard way of folding the money people have their own ways. For example 1 dollar bills will be folded very small and large bills will probably not be folded at all.
Basically blind people can be blind through a lot of things and they can also navigate in any different ways. Knowing all this new information I learned it makes me want to help blind people out even more because now I know the difficulties they have to go through daily that I don’t have to go through. Next time I want to know how they emotionally feel rather than how they physically feel.
1: Medical Author: Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR. Blindness. Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/18/2016.http://www.medicinenet.com/blindness/article.htm?scrlybrkr. Accessed 3/2/17
2: NFB. Frequently Asked Questions. National Federation of the Blind. https://nfb.org/frequently-asked-questions . Accessed 3/7/17
3: gdabvi. 10 Common Questions About Blindness. Gdabvi.org. 2017. http://www.gdabvi.org/10-common-questions-about-blindness/ . Accessed 3/7/17
4: How can a student who is blind navigate in an unfamiliar area to do fieldwork?. University of Washington. 8/21/15. http://www.washington.edu/doit/how-can-student-who-blind-navigate-unfamiliar-area-do-fieldwork?scrlybrkr Accessed 3/8/17