Brittney Ellis | Finding Independence After Sight Loss

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Women On The Move | Brittney Ellis

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Editor’s Note

Brittney Ellis was recently featured as a Monthly Beauty and we are thrilled to share her sight loss journey with you as our October Woman On The Move. Brittney has endured so much through losing her eyesight and her ability to adapt is awe-inspiring. This beautiful woman will motivate and inspire you by breaking barriers through education. Included in this post is a highlight video summary provided by Brittney. Enjoy! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover contains the same photo as in the header. The text on the cover reads "Beyond Sight Magazine October 2021 | Brittney Ellis | Finding Independence After Sight Loss | Women On The Move."

YouTube Summary Video

Brittney’s Sight Loss Journey

In this full length body shot of Brittney she is standing on a brick walkway with her white cane. She's  wearing a sexy form fitting white dress and white heeled sandals with her left hand on her hip.
Brittney Ellis

My name is Brittney and I lost my sight to Pseudotumor Cerebri also known as Intracranial hypertension. This is when your body reacts as if there is a tumor but there isn’t actually a tumor. The brain then produces too much fluid and causes damage to your optic nerves. It can also cause seizures and early dementia.

I have gone through several surgeries to help alleviate the pressure and preserve my eyesight. I have had over fifty lumbar punctures, an optic eye nerve fenestration, and a VP shunt installed.

  • Lumbar punctures are performed by taking an extremely long needle and put it in between the fourth and fifth vertebrae in your spine to release fluid. This helps preserve eye site and keep the fluid levels low.
  • An optic eye nerve fenestration is a procedure where they cut slits in the optic nerves to release the pressure so that the fluid will go through your nerves instead of getting locked up inside andeventually bursting your nerves.
  • Lastly, a VP shunt is a device that they install in your skull that drains fluid from your brain to your abdomen so that you can release the fluid naturally.

After all of these procedures, doctors were only able to save 5% of my vision. With this vision loss I had to relearn how to do almost everything. The first thing, I did was Google places that could help me with my vision loss.

Proactively Seeking Independence

One of the first places I found was the Division of Rehabilitation Services. This is an organization geared towards helping disabled people get back to as normal of a lifestyle as possible. One of the main things they do is teach you how to be independent so that you can eventually find work. They also fund any equipment that you may need to be productive.

They sent me to Blind Industries and Services of Maryland where I participated in their C.O.R.E program. This program taught me how to execute activities of daily living; non-visually. I learned things such as cooking, cleaning, reading braille and using public transportation to get where I need to go. I spent nine months on campus learning all of these tasks and after completing the program I moved back into my own place.

Since losing my sight and finding my independence again I have encountered many obstacles. I lost a lot of friends and I was constantly battling with my family trying to prove to them, that I am still capable of doing normal things like normal people. I just have to do them differently.

When I am out alone I get lots of stares and I hear people whispering about me but I have learned to ignore them all. I have been accused of faking my blindness because many people don’t understand that blindness is a spectrum. Technology has come along way to allow vision impaired people to be independent.

Breaking Barriers Through Education

Another full length body shot of Britteney standing with her white cane. In this photo she is wearing a black body suit with black sneakers and her right hand is on her hip.

Dating is also hard because many people find disabled people as unworthy of love, or they feel like they are superior to someone with a disability. I deal with discrimination from the government all the way down to small businesses. I have overcome most of these obstacles by educating myself about blindness in all of the possible avenues that are available for me so that I can educate others. I also use my social media platform to spread awareness and I have joined the National Federation Of The Blind (NFB). An organization that fights for equality for blind people and shares great resources to help the blind community.

Being a part of these organizations has helped me realize that there is nothing I can’t do. I have found a way to get back to a normal life and doing the things that I once loved. I rely on my cane to get around as well as screen readers and magnifiers to be able to shop online and do my makeup.

I still go to parties and bar lounges with my friends. I travel by car, bus or plane. There is a way around all obstacles if you just think outside of the box because for me giving up was not an option. When I meet people dealing with the same ailment I encourage them by first, leading by example and never leaving the house not well put together. I always walk with confidence and my head held up high. Secondly, sharing all of the resources that I have discovered and letting people know about technology and different programs that they can join.

I found myself inspired by this quote. “I may have lost my sight but I didn’t lose my vision”. You don’t need sight to have a vision.

I hope the person reading this finds their own courage to overcome their obstacles.

Connecting With Brittney

Image Descriptions

  • The header photo is a closeup headshot of Brittney a beautiful African American woman with long wavy dark hair. She is holding a pink flower in her left hand near her left ear.
  • Beyond Sight Magazine Cover contains the same photo as in the header. The text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight Magazine October 2021 | Brittney Ellis | Finding Independence After Sight Loss | Women On The Move.”
  • In this full length body shot of Brittney she is standing on a brick walkway with her white cane. She’s wearing a sexy form fitting white dress and white heeled sandals with her left hand on her hip.
  • Another full length body shot of Britteney standing with her white cane. In this photo she is wearing a black body suit with black sneakers and her right hand is on her hip.
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