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5 Common Misconceptions About Blindness

“Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” ~Stephanae McCoy

Optical illusion of a 3-dimensional hollow crate.The following is an edited version of the original article published on The Mighty on July 19, 2017.

When I lost my eyesight I quickly learned that thriving within the sighted world meant overcoming obstacles. Believe it or not, while living with sight loss isn’t easy the most difficult challenges come in the form of misconceptions. Listed below are a few I’ve encountered:

  1. Blindness is a complete lack of sight, total darkness – FALSE
    • The majority of people considered blind have some functional vision i.e. light perception, shapes/shadows, lack of peripheral or central vision, cloudy, obstructed vision, etc.
  2. People who use white canes or guide dogs are totally blind – FALSE
    • The range of sight loss is enormous and it differs from person to person. Many legally blind people who use mobility aids may ‘appear’ to see. The aids are needed for navigating safely and independently.
  3. Legal blindness is when a person can’t see after taking off corrective lenses – FALSE
    • Legal blindness refers to a specific measurement required for a person to receive government benefits.
    • Legal blindness does not define or describe the functional vision.
    • When a person is legally blind, day-to-day living is impacted and their eyesight cannot be corrected by lenses, medicine or surgery.
    • There are legally blind people who do not use mobility aids or self-identify, this is their right.
  4. There is a clear contrast between blind and sighted people – FALSE
    • Many blind people do not ‘look’ like they cannot see.
    • Many blind people walk confidently and are well put together.
    • Many blind people are highly skilled in a number of areas including, law, healthcare, technology, art, science, sports, politics, teaching, etc.
  5. Blind people cannot use smartphones, tablets, or computers – FALSE
    • Many blind people are extremely technologically savvy. 

Six assorted stones balanced on top of one another to represent balance.While this list isn’t all-inclusive many of us have encountered situations where our lack of eyesight is questioned. If there were one takeaway I would want people to understand it would be this: when meeting a person who uses a mobility device or self-identifies as having a hidden disability take it at face value.

Many times things are not as they might appear and just because we may not understand the situation does not change the fact that everyone—including people with disabilities—are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.

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Passionate For Optimal Health | Leslie Thompson

Getting Back On Track

Leslie is smiling for the camera and posing outside near a tree with a clear container of Plexus in her left hand. She is looking summer cool and stylish in a green tank top and white pants.
Leslie Thompson

Editor’s Note: Going through a major life altering event like losing eyesight can take a serious toll on a person’s emotions, psyche, and overall health. The fear of thinking your life going forward will be forever changed can be overwhelming to the point of making you feel paralyzed. Leslie Thompson knows this fear firsthand and found a way to get her life back on track, following is her story.

Hi, Guys! I am a 35-year-old mom of three girls ages 5, 7, and 9. I was a special education teacher for 10 years before my vision was interfering with the success of doing my job and raising my children. I was struggling emotionally for several years as it was, let alone when I didn’t have my job title anymore.  

I knew I should be happy being with my family and girls, but the thought of it, just wasn’t enough to prevent the tears and nervousness I was feeling about each day. I was at a point of going back to my doctor to have her put me on medication to help me deal with these issues, though I didn’t want the side effects.

I had just heard about Plexus products a couple of months prior and was a total skeptic of these products helping me. However, I thought it would be worthwhile if it could help me not be on medication. These products are made with natural, plant-based ingredients.

I had nothing to lose, but so much to gain! I am so incredibly happy to say that I have been on Plexus products for a year and a half and never had to fill a script from my doctor. I actually just had my yearly checkup and we discussed these changes!

My husband noticed the change in me. He was no longer worried about leaving me at home when he went to work. Feelings of sadness are not only felt by the person having the issues but felt by the others in the household.  

It has been such a blessing to get my body balanced and improving my gut health. Without knowing it, many health issues are tied to our gut health, even from the things we ate and medications we took in our younger years.

I have no more chronic feelings of sadness or nervousness, more energy, no more diet coke addiction, less coffee, better sleep, no more sugar addiction, and probably more I haven’t pinpointed. I know that taking these health products are helping me live a better future as well.

When I know other family members have health issues, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, autoimmune diseases, I want to do my best to prevent it, as well! I would gladly answer any questions you may have if you don’t already know someone who shares Plexus. It has become my passion to help others achieve optimal health!

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Vanity & Vision Loss

A Precautionary Tale On Fashion Contacts

“Eyes are captivatingly beautiful. Not because of the color but because of the words they hold within them.” ~Unknown

A single eye with a blue, red and green color wheel covering the iris.Eyesight, so many of us take it for granted and without a second thought, in an attempt to change our appearance we’ll do things that are detrimental to our vision. Such is the case of a young woman who recently filed a lawsuit due to legal blindness from the use of cosmetic contact lenses she purchased at a flea market.

Colored contacts for cosmetic use are packaged under different names (decorative, Halloween, doll-eyed, theatrical, etc.) but they all change the appearance of the iris. Here in the U.S., all contacts (corrective or non-corrective) are considered medical devices and a prescription is required for their use.

The risks associated with cosmetic contact lenses are the same as prescription contacts. Some of these risks include corneal scratches, conjunctivitis, infection, decreased vision, and as in the case of the young woman in the article, blindness.

The link to the article is at the end of this post however, I want to share a few tips to keep in mind when using contact lenses.

  • Always get a prescription for cosmetic contacts
  • Wash your hands before handling lenses
  • Never share contacts with another person
  • Only use contact lens solution for cleaning and storing lenses
  • Follow the doctor’s instructions

Article: Lubbock Woman Files Lawsuit After Blindness Caused By Flea Market Contact Lenses

Have a great Monday!!

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A Lil’ Inspiration #22

Giving In Is Not Giving Up

“2009 marked my last unsuccessful vitrectomy. “I’m sorry there’s no more we can do for you” the doctor’s voice was like a distant echo and just like that I was declared legally blind.”

Professional business headshot photo of me In June of this year, it will be eight years since I was declared legally blind. If someone would have told me prior to my eye issues that I would survive without seeing I would have told them “no way!” I am so thankful reality is so much better than the fears I drummed up prior to my sight loss.

I can’t lie, going from darn near perfect correctable vision to no longer being able to see the eye chart was scary. So many questions like how am I going to work, how will I be able to remain independent, how can I do the things I used to do, how will I enjoy life? For many long days and nights, I was paralyzed with the fear of facing the unknown and I never felt so alone. Then something amazing happened…

I gave in. I didn’t give up. Once I faced my fear it opened the door to new and exciting opportunities. I learned how to use assistive devices to maintain my independence, keep my job, and navigate the world on my own. I got heavily involved with several blindness organizations working for justice while simultaneously breaking down stereotypes and most importantly, I now have the most amazing people in my life I would not have met if I did not experience sight loss.

Blindness is not the worse thing that can happen to a person. Never underestimate your resilience through any challenge. You are far more capable of not only continuing onward but thriving as you move forward.

Happy Friday & Have a great weekend!!