When two pairs of glasses are no longer enough

Our eyesight is something we can take for granted, with the vast majority of people not giving it a second thought when reading a sign or typing out a text message. Yet I guess you could say it is the same argument for walking, whether you're going up a staircase or to the shops, it just happens. With Cerebral Palsy it may make you question these things that others take for granted, I just hope this makes us appreciate what we have rather than making us feel like we are missing out, but as you can imagine- this takes time.

My vision complications started quite early on with a squint, since having an operation when I was younger it has drastically improved! I still notice it, mainly in photos or when I'm tired but nothing too major! I know 95% of people who know me will be completely unaware I have a squint (or a lazy eye as it's sometimes referred to) which in some ways is good. This has only led to a few people asking why I wasn't looking at them during conversations, although I promise I was!!! As a result of having a squint it has meant seeing an eye clinic at the hospital on and off for many years as well as a normal optometrist during the times I've worn glasses, with my level of vision slowly, but steadily reducing over the years. Why don't you just wear glasses you ask? Surely that would correct things... unfortunately not. Glasses have never been able to fully correct my vision but it's always been enough to function which I guess is the main aim and at the end of the day, it's all I've ever known. 

Although, even with the help of both distance and reading glasses, it's no longer 'enough'. It's no longer at a level where I'm able to fool the world I can see, and as silly as that sounds, I think that's the hardest part. Even after recently signing the forms to show a registered sight impairment it still seems like it's not bad enough to warrant that kind of diagnosis. I have reading glasses and occasionally use a magnifying lens for smaller print but I manage fine. It certainly helps that you can just zoom in on computer screens! However, it's distance that creates the most issues, especially in places I don't know. I have don't have the best peripheral vision and it's not too far in front of me when things start to turn into blobs of colour rather than the object/ person it's meant to be. If I am in a busy place it can be hard to know where my own feet are going, or where flights of stairs start and end. It also isn't uncommon to catch door frames or wall when navigating the university campus.

Yet I've learned that glasses can fool you, especially now they are seen as a fashion accessory! Not that I'm complaining, I love my glasses and I believe I suit them (or so I've been told...). However, quite a lot of people wear glasses now, making it difficult to distinguish who's a little short-sightedness and who's registered as having a sight impairment. This makes it so easy to think your level of sight can't possibly be that bad, especially when you don't know any different. So when the idea of using a white cane was mentioned it seemed odd for myself and others. Aside from the fact that I already walk with a stick (sorry I only have two hands!) people jumped to the conclusion that if I can see then why would I need a white cane, surely they're for people who are blind or nearly blind? I can't deny the fact that the same thoughts crossed my mind too; I have used many different aids in my life to complete daily task but a white cane isn't something I thought I would use, it isn't something I thought I would ever need.

At the moment I am waiting for further doctors appointments to look at what equipment would be the most useful for myself, as well as teaching me how to use a white cane- which will probably be an interesting experience! Luckily they do not think my vision will deteriorate anymore and my level of sight can be kept stable with glasses, at least that is good news! A white cane may not be able to stop me walking into cupboard doors above me that I've left open by mistake, but it could stop me from tripping up over a curb and underneath all of the apprehension, that sounds like it might be a good idea. It sounds like an idea that I may not like at this moment in time, but potentially could prevent a lot of falls!

~ Chloe x

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