Low vision in its simplest terms refers to vision that can longer be corrected to normal vision with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery. The World Health Organization has this to say about low vision:
There are four levels of visual function, according to the International Classification of Diseases -10 (Update and Revision 2006):
1) normal vision
2) moderate visual impairment
3) severe visual impairment
Moderate visual impairment combined with severe visual impairment are grouped under the term “low vision”: low vision taken together with blindness represents all visual impairment.
Meet The Faces of Bold Blind Beautiful & Accomplished Women
Representation Matters! Bold Blind Beauty believes that “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” Today’s Cover Model, Annastasia Srock, is a gorgeous college-sophomore who recently started a YouTube channel. Annastasia, who is living with Stargardt disease (a juvenile form of macular degeneration, has such an amazing outlook on life and she sees the beauty in nearly everything. To learn more about Annastasia visit her social media platforms listed below.
Following is personal and empowering insight from Annastasia:
Beyond Sight Magazine Cover – Annastasia is laying down with her long wavy golden/brown hair fanned out around her face. She has on a single strand of tiny pearls around her neck and is posed with a pink rose on her right shoulder. With dark red lip color and golden eyes that perfectly match her hair the contrast is striking. The masthead is teal with “Beyond Sight Magazine” in black text. The dot on the ‘i’ in ‘sight’ is the eye used for our 2020 Year of Vision Campaign (described HERE). There are 3 lines of text to the left of Annastasia’s photo that says “Annastasia Srok A Starry-Eyed Life.” In the bottom right corner is a yellow circle with an illustration of Abby looking at a reflection of herself in a standing mirror. She has on a teal dress and a white hat with a black band. In her right hand is her white cane. And of course, she’s sporting her signature explosive hairstyle (peeping from under her hat in the back), and “Monthly Beauties” is yellow text under the circle.
In an ongoing effort to increase awareness on sight loss/blindness, Bold Blind Beauty contributor Cheryl Minnette will be inviting readers into the world of what it’s like to live with severe sight loss. These articles are created with the intention of continuing meaningful conversation while further connecting blind and sighted people. We hope you will enjoy these quarterly pieces that will be published under Beauty Buzz & Blog Biz and tagged “Awareness & Sensitivity.”
“I hope I can do this.”
“A little more variety from the color palette would have helped.”
There are so many beautiful colors in the world, such a vast rainbow to observe. In addition to the many shades, you have your pales, your brights, your darks and your lights. Any color, any hue that you can imagine is some type of blend. So what happens when the color choice is just one? One single color, with no other. No other color to compliment it. No other color to offset it. No other color to contrast with it. How does this single hue appear to you?
Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!
Come along with me on a journey that will allow you to gain some mental insight into someone else’s world. Indulge me a moment by closing your eyes as I walk you through a scenario. Are you ready? Let’s go!
All are chatting away and excitement is in the air, electrifying it, as everyone is escorted through the venue. Anticipation peaks as a pair of highly arched, white French doors swing open to reveal the outdoor wedding reception. Immediately you step onto the first of a limited number of oversized white steppingstones, that wind throughout the beautifully manicured lawn. With the sun shining brightly overhead, you may just barely be able to see the tables that are spectacularly decorated off in the distance.
The first thing you must do is get from point A to point B while trying to appear as graceful as possible. The steppingstones may not be too much of a problem, but look out for those unseen changes in the terrain. A beautiful scene, but not the most ideal place for a blind girl in her stilettos. As the maneuvering continues, all are wondering what will take place when the festivities begin.
Getting situated at your table and meeting the other table guests is always an interesting process. As you get closer, you hear people marveling at the beauty of the vision before them. There are all-white tablescapes that start with a tablecloth that gently drapes down to kiss the lawn, and chairs that have been stylishly dressed with white chair covers that are snatched with a rear bow and shimmering with crystal and pearl embellishments. As you approach the seating area, the multiple tablescapes appear to be a large white danger zone, an accident waiting to happen. Your mind now begins to race as it is searching and wondering, ‘How on God’s green earth will I get through this?’ Caution becomes the word of the day, as you proceed very cautiously to ensure that minimal damage occurs, but hoping there will be none at all. The challenge here is that, although you pretty much know what should be on the table, you just don’t see it.
For instance, you may know there’s a place setting, but what type is the question. One must consider what their entire place setting consists of. You know there will be silverware, but the number of pieces is the variable, since there may be between three and eight. Did you know that in this setting the reflection from the sun can cause silverware to disappear, as they can appear to be white? Having a clear item on a sunny day like crystal stemware adds another layer of challenges. You know it’s there, but where and how many is what you need to figure out before they are inadvertently knocked over.
Note that without any contrast, sun or no sun, everything on the table can blend together as one. So with the place settings, silverware, and crystal stemware, rounding out these tablescapes are large green and white floral arrangements in a tall crystal vase, which is set upon an octagon-shaped mirrored centerpiece. White pearl strands are swirled around the table with crystal accents sprinkled all around.
With this scenario, I’m sure you can understand the pitfalls that would be challenging for someone with severe vision loss and contrast challenges. Is the scene beautiful? Yes, it is. Could it become a tragic scene? Yes, I could. Can one acquire the skills to move through this scenario with poise and grace? Yes, one most definitely can!
These are some of the things that one has to process and work through as part of their day to day life style.
On the one hand, if you are sighted, this monochromatic display may be a breathtakingly picturesque sight to behold. On the other hand, for someone whose visual challenge deals with contrast and severe vision loss, having this tablescape could be like walking a bull through a China Shop. The bull may not demolish the shop, but some damage will definitely occur.
Give us your thoughts as you comment below as to what you became aware of, what you would like to know, and what you were able to relate to. Your insights and expressions are appreciated.
A pair of silver wedding bands tied together with white satin ribbon on
Growing up, I grew used to hearing people tell me, “You don’t look blind.” I struggled during my school years because many students, and even some teachers, accused me of feigning my poor vision.
During my college years as a music education major, one important professor informed me, “I’m sorry. I don’t teach students with disabilities.”
In graduate school, one of my supervisors told me, “I feel sorry for any congregation that you serve because they will have a blind pastor.”
After five years of effective ministry, I am still frequently told, “You don’t look like a preacher.”
This statement always dumbfounds me because I do not know what a preacher is supposed to look like. I have known preachers, both men and women, who are all ages, shapes, sizes, and skin colors.
In the same way, I have met people who are blind or disabled who are more varied in appearance than you can possibly imagine.
Just as there is no “right way,” to live life with a disability, there is no one “right way,” to pursue your dream.
Destination Love and Acceptance
At last, after my very long journey, I am beginning to start to feel love and acceptance for myself. I now view my sight loss as an important part of my identity.
I have been blessed to meet so many wonderfully supportive people along the way. For every negative voice, there were even more positive voices in my life that resounded just as loudly.
I want to be a positive voice who inspires other people the way others have inspired me. That is why I was decided to publish my chapbook,Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse. This small book of poems is my love letter to my beloved church. It is also my statement to the world that people with disabilities can do anything that people without disabilities can do- we just do it a little differently.
Poetry has always been connected to music. Blindness is not a reason for silence. My loss of vision has inspired me to keep singing out in a darkened world.
About the Author:
Rev. Rebecca L. Holland holds a Bachelor of English Education and a Master of Divinity. She is especially passionate about working to make the church more inclusive for people who have been traditionally marginalized, especially people with disabilities. She blogs about faith, diverse books, and disability awareness at BeckieWrites.com
Rebecca Holland | Blind Beauty #67 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty is black & white. Rebecca sits on a plaid picnic blanket in a sunny park in front of a 1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. She is wearing a blue dress and smiling. She has long dark hair and wears glasses.
Blocks of text superimposed on Rebecca’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for Fall 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Complexion.”
Rebecca Holland And The Bookstore Image:
Rebecca stands on a stool in a bookstore in front of a large shelf full of books. She smiles as she takes a volume front the shelf. She wears a striped dress and denim jacket.
“I have found that through my visual complications I appreciate what I can still see. I have a passion for sharing that though you may face struggles you’ll find strength through them.”
Legal Blindness & Low Vision Awareness
Pars Planitis is a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the front of the eye. In my case, I’ve had the disease since I was 6 and because of this, I have cataracts and glaucoma. In November 2017, I had my 6th eye surgery on my right eye to help correct some secondary issues brought about from years of Pars Planitis flare-ups.
For as long as I can remember I have had low vision in my right eye. What this means is I can see light, color, and the outline of figures—scientifically speaking it’s a measurement of 20/400. Since the surgery, I’m at a visual field of 20/200.
Visual impairment and low vision look different on everyone. Not every person who has low vision sees the same thing. This post is to help people understand that when someone is legally blind or has low vision, this doesn’t mean they can’t see anything at all.
I think it is equally important for people to become knowledgeable about different diseases so we can find cures. Right now Pars Planitis is still incurable and highly understudied. Both of my eyes have the disease so I will never stop fighting for a cure.
Appreciation Through Challenge
I want to continue to see and cherish this beautiful world! My eyesight used to be 20/20 in my good eye or left eye and since the Pars Planitis flare a year ago my vision is reduced to 20/40. This may not seem like a big difference but given what I am working with the change is a challenge. I have double vision as well as the presence of floaters since my last flare. Additionally, my sight is not correctable by prescriptions.
Battling Pars Planitis and recovering from surgery this past year has motivated me to find an illustrator for my children’s novel. I’m set to release the book, “The Sunflower Field,” come Spring 2019!
I have found that through my visual complications I appreciate what I can still see. I have a passion for sharing that though you may face struggles you’ll find strength through them. Also, I want everyone to be aware that just because someone is visually impaired does not mean they aren’t capable of working on a computer or being successful! At 23 years of age, despite many health hurdles, I’m still a full-time student at Purdue University Northwest pursuing a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship.
Blind Beauty 50 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Kaitlyn is on the cover standing in front of a brown wooden privacy fence smiling and holding a yellow flower. She is wearing a short-sleeve multi-colored striped dress with a crew neckline. Her dark hair is swept to the left of her pretty face and her eyeglasses are the perfect accessory.
Blocks of text superimposed on Kaitlyn’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”
Here’s a close-up photo of Kaitlyn with her left eye practically swollen shut.
In this photo, Kaitlyn gives the thumbs up as she reclines in her hospital bed in the recovery room after her surgery. There is an eye patch on her right eye and she is surrounded by various medical instruments and monitoring equipment.