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 don’t see people’s beautiful (or not so beautiful) faces??
No, I don’t.
As I’ve lost my central vision, I’ve lost my ability to see people’s faces. Hey…That could be to your advantage if you look like total crap one day! I will never know!
Growing up we are taught to look people in the eyes when they are speaking to us or when we 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 sh*t about the conversation.
When you focus in on someone’s face, you use your central vision. When I use my central vision to look at someone’s face, all I see is a cloudy gray area, not the face. If someone is further away, they just disappear into that cloud of gray.
So, guess what? If I can’t see your beautiful face… I won’t recognize you! Even if I met you an hour ago, six months ago, or years ago, I will not recognize you. I can’t recognize my own family in a crowd. That’s the sad & scary truth.
Okay… Let me add in something right here. There are a couple of ways I can see your face. I can look at a super blown up picture on my computer. The other way is if you come very, very close to me and I look above your head… I can see you through my peripheral vision. I can map out your face. Eyes, nose, and mouth. It’s really blurry, 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 need to do.
What can you do to help me feel more at ease?
Come over to me and tell me who you are. Use your words before you touch me, hug me, jump on me, or slap my ass. Umm, I mean, my back. And if I don’t know you, and you know I’m blind, please introduce yourself. Then I have an idea about who is around me. That keeps my anxiety from rearing its ugly head! And for the love of God… Don’t say “Hey, remember me?” OR “Guess who?” OR stand next to me and say nothing. Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m blind. You’re not. Just help a mutha out!!
So, if I don’t stop and say “Hello!”, please don’t think I’m a bitch who’s totally rude. I’m just a blind girl trying to keep a positive attitude.
I wish I could see… the sparkle in your eyes, the warmth of your smile, and your facial expression that light and up the conversation.
I wish, I really really wish, I could see the smiles on my friends & family when they are standing next to me. But I know that I will likely never see a clear smile – live and in person – again. However, do me a favor loves, keep smiling for me. I will feel your happy vibe as a… Girl Gone Blind. xx