Can you imagine walking around and not being able to see anyone’s face? Sounds a little bit like an episode of the Twilight Zone, right? Well…as much as I wish it was a TV show… It’s not. It’s my reality. I can’t see people’s faces.
You can’t see people’s faces??
No, I can’t.
As I’ve lost my central vision, I’ve lost my ability to see people’s faces. But hey, that could be to your advantage if you look like total crap one day! Yep, I’ll never know!
Growing up we are taught to look people in the eye when they are speaking to us or when we’re greeting them. It’s proper social etiquette. If you don’t do it, people may think you’re rude, or Just don’t give a shit about the conversation.
When you focus in on someone’s face, you use your central vision. I have no central vision. All I see is a cloudy gray area (called a scotoma), where your face should be. If someone is a few feet further away, they just disappear into a cloudy veil of gray.
So, guess what? If I can’t see your beautiful or handsome face… I won’t recognize you! Even if I met you an hour ago, six months ago, or 40 years ago – I will not recognize you. I can’t even recognize my own kids in a crowd. That’s the sad & scary truth.
Is there any way I can sorta see faces?
There ARE a couple of ways I can sorta see your face. One way is that I can look at a super magnified photo on my huge computer monitor. The other way is if you come very, very close to me and I direct my eyes to your forehead, I can sorta see you through my lower peripheral vision. My peripheral vision is blurry and snowy, but I can map out your face finding your eyes, nose, mouth, and if your hair is dark or light. It’s not great, but it’s better than nothing! So, if I look up while I’m talking to you, just go with it. It’s what people with LHON sometimes do.
What can you do to help me feel more at ease?
Come over to me and tell me who you are! Talk to me before you touch me, kung fu grip hug me, jump on me, or pat me on the ass. Umm, I mean, pat me on the back!
If I don’t know you, and you know I’m blind, please introduce yourself. Then I have an idea about who’s around me, instead of feeling like I’m surrounded by faceless strangers. That keeps my anxiety from skyrocketing! And, for…the…love… Don’t say “Hey, remember me?” OR “Guess who?” OR stand next to me and say nothing. Nope. Nope. And nope. I’m blind. You’re not. Just help a blind girl out!!!
I wish I could still see so many things. Especially, the sparkle in your eyes, the warmth of your smile, and your funny facial expressions that can lighten and up a conversation.
I wish, I really, really wish, I could see the smiles on my friends & family when they are standing next to me. Turns out nonverbal communication is a big damn deal! I know that I will most likely never see a clear smile – live and in person – ever again. However, do me a favor loves, keep smiling for me. I will feel your positive energy and happy vibe as a… Girl Gone Blind. xx