Colorblind Man Uses Special Sunglasses to See a Sunset for the First Time

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This man is seeing things in a new light.

Aaron Williams-Mele is colorblind. Colorblindness, or color vision deficiency, is a condition that affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8 percent) and 1 in 200 women in the world, according to Colorblind Awareness. It can be genetic or it can occur over time as a symptom of another disease or condition. Most color blind people can still see things clearly, but just cannot fully see red, green or blue light.

For his birthday, Williams-Mele’s parents gave him a pair of Enchroma Color For The Colorblind glasses, which use optical technology to make colors more vibrant, even for those who are color blind.

Williams-Mele decided to use the glasses for the first time during a sunset at Whitehurst Beach in Norfolk, Virginia, according to the YouTube video below. He has an intense reaction to the experience and releases a slew of profanity as he chokes up and becomes emotional at the sight.

It’s weird,” Williams-Mele says in the video below. “I’m shaking… This is a lot different than what I thought it was going to be like.”

Watch Williams-Mele experience the colors of a sunset for the first time, but heads up, he uses a lot of explicit language: 

h/t HuffPost Good News

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23 Truths Blind and Visually Impaired People Wish Others Understood

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More than 20 million American adults reported experiencing vision loss in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, according to the American Foundation for the Blind. That’s a big number, so The Mighty decided to team up with the American Foundation for the Blind to start a discussion about visual impairment. We asked our readers who live with blindness and visual impairment want to world to understand about them.

This is what they had to say.

1. “People need to see us for who we are and not our disability. Yes, we are blind, but does that mean we can’t do anything? No.” — Michael Chopra

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2. “Please always identify yourself when speaking to a visually impaired individual. Same goes when speaking to a group if there are visually impaired individuals in that group. This is basic info that a person requires to take the next step — whether it be a simple conversation or perhaps forming the beginning of a friendship.” — Carolyn Sparacino Taylor

3. “Just because we are blind does not mean we can’t do everything a seeing person can.” — Nancy Olson

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4. “Blindness isn’t something to be ashamed of or to be embarrassed about.” — Jael Espinal

5. “I may or may not know that other blind person you know.” — Katherine Schneider

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6. “I like to be judged by my abilities and not my disability. I want to be treated as an equal — I am a mother, grandmother, friend, sister, so why should I be any different because of my disability?” — Pauline Wade

7. “We, like many people, have challenges, however all of our problems in life are not as equal or the same as the sighted… No two people with blindness or visual impairment do the same things or have the same mannerisms.” — William Odonnell

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8. “I wish people could understand how frustrating it is when you are losing your sight, but what we have to do is find ways to adapt, and this makes it easier. We are not to be put out to pasture yet because there are still things we can do.” — Evelyn Jeanette Morton Bishop

9. “The world and my life are not dark because I am totally blind.” — Linda Hunt

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10. “Losing one’s eyesight is not a fate worse than death. Life without vision still holds many joys. Challenges and difficulties, yes, but also much happiness and fulfillment as well. There are non-visual ways of doing most things. It seems like it’s hard for people with normal vision to imagine how those of us with low vision or with no vision can do things like comb our hair, dress ourselves, clean our homes or even eat.” — Candy Lien

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11. “It’s important that people understand the fear that comes with losing your eyesight. When your world starts to go dark, you really need kindness to keep you going.” — Sarah Elizabeth Baggett-Poole

12. “I am more than my visual impairment, I am a complete person. Being visually impaired is just a minor challenge, and we all have challenges. It doesn’t make me less of a person.” — Alexandria Knox

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13. “I have a visual impairment. [People assume] blind and visually impaired persons are deaf, [so they] talk really loud. This is not true. Being blind does not mean we are deaf. We hear just fine. It is true, however, that some blind persons have hearing impairments. But they do not go hand-in -and.” — Kim Leis Moberg

14. “We experience joy just like everyone, and it would be nice to have some authentic friendships.” — Denise Vestman

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15. “I hate when people think I’m making it up when I can’t see something obvious to them — ‘Are you serious? You really can’t see it? It’s right there!’ No, I can’t always see it.” — Hayley Swann

16. “In public moments I just need some help, not to be treated as a dumb kid.” — Ana Karina Velázquez Villalobos

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17. “We dream just like anyone else. We have goals and we experience all the feelings in life the same as the average individual. We can surprise you when you least expect it.” — Donna Browning

18. “Don’t be afraid to come up and chat. I would much rather have someone ask me questions about my blindness than avoid talking to me at all for fear of offending me.” — Caitlin Hernandez

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19. “Blindness isn’t synonymous with helpless. I may have to adapt and do things a different way, but I can still do them. And when I want or need your help, I will ask. But believe that I can do things first until proven I can’t.” — Rhianna Lynn Martin

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20. “My baby is a baby first. Love and fawn over her like any baby. Talk to her. Ask me questions. Don’t let her blindness define or limit her. We have high hopes for her and want you too as well.” — Nicole Vallier

21. “There are lots of different types of ‘blind’ or visual impairment. Not all forms of vision impairment come with a guide dog and a white stick. Some little ones take longer to learn to see than others and sometimes it’s the brain, not the eyes.” — SarahandLayne Coates

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22. “Please, for the absolute love of God, don’t ask to try on my glasses (no, they aren’t a toy and will probably give you a headache).” — Collette Kerr

23. “I am happy the way I am and don’t want to be ‘fixed.’ I don’t want or need people’s pity.” — Lina Coral

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What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.  

*Answers have been edited for brevity. 

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How One Dad Takes His Daughter's Eye Patch From Meh to Masterpiece

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Layla Grubb is an 18-month-old whose ordinary medical accessory has a remarkable twist. The toddler wears an eye patch for a small cataract in her left eye, so her dad, Geof Grubb, puts his artistic side to use and decorates her patch each day, he told the “Today” show.

Did we just become best friends? #carebearstare #goodluckbear #laylaspatches #eyepatch

A photo posted by @laylaspatches on

 

Layla wears a patch for two hours a day to strengthen her vision, her dad wrote on his Reddit account. She’s worn the patch since she was 10 months old, and her vision is developing well.

Grubb draws colorful cartoons, like Cookie Monster and Pokemon, and recognizes holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Earth Day. While most patches get thrown out at the end of the day, Grubb archives Layla’s daily patch on his Instagram account, which has more than 7,000 followers.

We try to keep [the patch] part of her regular routine so it bothers her less,” Grubb told Mashable. “After all these months, most days she doesn’t even notice it.”

You can see the rest of Layla’s Patches here. Check out some of our favorites below:

Who you gonna call? #ghostbusters #girlpower #laylaspatches #eyepatch

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Happy Fathers' Day! #fathersday #laylaspatches #eyepatch

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Turtles are friends, not food #cannibal #squirt #findingnemo #laylaspatches #eyepatch

A photo posted by @laylaspatches on

This wee Wonder Woman @eyepowerkids #wonderwoman #dccomics #laylaspatches #eyepatch

A photo posted by @laylaspatches on

Getting her LEGO on! #lego #duplo #laylaspatches #eyepatch

A photo posted by @laylaspatches on

Blech! Dog germs! #snoopy #peanuts #charliebrown #laylaspatches #eyepatch

A photo posted by @laylaspatches on

Layla and Hobbes! #calvinandhobbes #hobbes #laylaspatches #eyepatch

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Happy Star Wars Day! #Maythe4thbewithyou #princessleia #padawan #laylaspatches #eyepatch

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When People Ask if I Would Give My Daughter Sight

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When I think about all the things Madilyn is missing because she is blind, I often consider the bad sights. An animal killed on the side of the road. The worried expression on my face when the doctor said she needed a major skull surgery. The numerous harsh images flashing across the television screen. Perhaps it’s some sort of blessing to be sheltered from such horrific sights, especially as a child.

On the other hand, maybe she’s being cheated without all the visual information sighted people take in every waking minute — information which shapes our mind, memories, reflections on the past and plans for the future.

young girl standing in front of a pond

Either way, visual images are not in Madilyn’s mind. Instead, her memories seem to be full of mostly sound, speech and even musical notes. She can tell you the title, season and episode number of every “Sesame Street” on Netflix. She will remember the sound of your voice years from the day she met you. She can tell you the name of a song within seconds of hearing it, and what note the clank of the glass made as we said, “Cheers!” last New Year’s Eve.

Some people have asked me if I could give Madilyn sight today, would I do it? Many probably think it’s an easy answer. But as her mother, it would be extremely hard for me to say I want to change her. She was given to me without sight and without eyes. Everything she is today— funny, smart, sweet and loving — is because of everything she experienced from the day she was born, and even before.

To experience this world without sight is something most of us could never imagine. And because I didn’t make the decision, most of the time I don’t feel like it should be my choice, even if it was possible. I think that’s something she would need to decide for herself when she’s older. People may not understand, but I believe Madilyn might not want to be different than she is today, with the life she knows. Maybe she is perfectly happy without sight. She most certainly acts that way every day.

If I could take away the frustrations and pain she has endured through surgeries and doctors poking, I would do it in a New York second. But maybe even those experiences, although not pleasant, have helped shape her as well — it’s hard to say for sure. However, I do know that the person I am today, and the beautiful life I live, is because of her. And I thank God every single day. woman and her daughter in lifejackets on the lake

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When I Overheard My Boss Use This Word to Describe Me

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My first month selling theme park tickets at my current job was one well-earned. I made it through an extensive training, something many of my trainers didn’t think I could pull off given my limitations.

I’m a naturally fast learner and I absorb knowledge like a sponge. I wanted this job more than anything and I was able to pass my assessment with no problems. Although my already weak eyes were getting quite a workout, I was able to make do with a magnifier or in worse case scenarios, a borrowed camera lens from my boyfriend at the time.

All was going well until one day when an elderly guest in a mobility scooter paid me a visit looking to buy an annual pass. One thing was thrown at me towards the end of my transaction that somehow in all my training, I forgot about. How to refund a parking fee.

I apologized to the women whose parking I accidentally forgot to refund, because at that point I couldn’t do a refund. My booth mate that day was in the middle of taking care of someone else and was slowly telling me there was a way to fix it.

As I went to explain to the guest what happened, and that I was new to the job, a hurtful comment was made.

“Why are you even working here if you don’t know what you’re doing?”

“OK,” I thought. “I can handle that.”

Then she spouted at me, “Disabled people should never be in the workforce. You’re too blind to work here. Who was the quack that let you in to begin with?”

Between her yelling and my booth mate trying the best he could to help me in between juggling an already backed up line of people, my mind drew a blank and I just shut down at that point. I thought to myself, “Disabled people shouldn’t be in the workforce? And this is coming from a woman in a scooter?” Despite this, I was pulling off my best “Tour Guide Barbie” face.

My manager swung past to say hello as chaos ensued, and I tried to play it off like I was a capable “goodie goodie” who knew everything.

Miss Scooter saw my manager’s normal clothes and name tag and put two and two together as she whizzed behind my booth screaming her head off about me.

But my manager’s reaction was one that surprised me.

“Miss, I understand your frustration, but my team here are all capable of doing their jobs, including Manda. There is no need for my intervention. They’ll have this fixed in no time.”

She said, “capable.”

I was capable? Never in the history of me holding a job had that word ever come into play, let alone in my defense.

After we got our guest on her way, I melted into a sea of emotion. I excused myself from my position, not wanting to be seen or bothered, at which time I sat on the floor in the back of the booth just wanting to disappear.

It was then that my manager picked me up off the ground, gave me a hug and said, “You did an awesome job sweetie.”

A year later and I’m still working here, because people believed in me.

award ribbon from Disney World

At times of great doubt in the big crazy world that is my job, I look back at that day and what I have accomplished since then, despite what others think of me.

I can only hope the woman who came to my booth looks back at all that has happened and realizes a little bit of compassion and patience can go a long way. Especially with those who are trying to help make your vacation a good one.

Experience is something learned beyond a classroom, and this experience for me will last a lifetime.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with extreme negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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One Stranger Left Me With a Broken Cane, but Another Helped in the Best Way

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It was a beautiful, sunny Texas day in November. I admit I didn’t much notice that, though, because I was late to class. I was nearly finished with the first semester of my junior year at UNT, and I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I wasn’t known for being the relaxed type back then.

OK, Mel, I thought. You can do this. Instead of taking my usual, longer route to class, I decided to cut through center campus. Despite my efforts to draw inner peace from the misting fountains by the library mall, my shoulders were tense with the presence of what seemed to be nearly a quarter of our student body populating the area, with no reason to convene aside from the gorgeous weather.

A group of girls was headed my way. We were sharing a relatively narrow path, so there wasn’t much time for me to slink off to the side and let them through.

SNAP!

One of them tripped on my cane. Hard.

Neither she nor her friends checked to see if I was OK; they just apologized, still giggling, and skittered away.

I was slack-jawed and spellbound. I wanted to scream at them for abandoning me, but no words came. This was a rarity for me, since back then I was affectionately known amongst my friends for being the blind girl with sidewalk rage.

So much for getting to class. How was I even going to get home? I knew my way around flawlessly, but without the security of a functional cane, my steps were halted and completely devoid of confidence amidst this sea of people. Not to mention that there were two street crossings between points A and B. And what could be done about my cane? How long would it take me to get a new one? Why had it never occurred to me to have a backup on hand? Suddenly I’d gone from being completely independent to completely helpless. I wanted to despise that girl for being able to navigate the campus with what seemed to be the utmost ease. I wanted to despise her for lacking the decency to rectify what I knew had been an accident at first but, now that she’d left me to my own devices, was starting to feel more like an act of carelessness. This was a matter of survival, however, and although I was devastated, I knew I hadn’t the time for that way of thinking.

Picking up the pieces of my cane, and what little I could of my dignity, I made my way to the nearest wall, then sat with my back to it and my knees drawn protectively against my chest. In tears, I called a mentor with the disabilities office and left her a desperate voicemail asking if she could send someone to walk me home. As I pressed “End,” I heard someone approach me.

“Are you OK?” asked a female voice that, though soft, held its own over the ambient noise of the crowd.

“Someone tripped over my cane and broke it,” I sobbed, wondering if my words were even intelligible and hating how weak I sounded and felt. “I know where I am, but I don’t think I can get home safely.”

“Can I help you?” she offered, then added with some urgency, “And can I please give you a hug?”

I pocketed my cell, picked up the remains of my cane once more and stood, however shakily. Feeling more than a little embarrassed by the situation, I was glad to hide my face in her willing shoulder for a moment.

“I’m Cortni, by the way,” she said, smiling as we broke contact.

“I’m Mel,” I replied through a lump in my throat, wiping the tears from my cheeks and trying desperately to keep fresh ones at bay. “Thank you. I had no idea what to do.”

“Where do you live, Mel?”

“Maple. We’re not far, actually.”

“Not at all! I go to Wesley a lot, and it’s pretty much right next door.”

Cortni came to my side and offered her elbow, like she’d done it a thousand times, and together, we headed south toward my dorm, chatting all the way. I wasn’t sure why all this had happened, exactly, but my gratitude for the love and kindness of a stranger, now a friend, overrode my momentary self-pity. Cortni and I had little contact after that, but I’ll never forget what she did for me.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment a stranger  or someone you don’t know very well — showed you or a loved one incredible love. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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