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One Man Shares His Unexpected Reaction to Becoming Blind

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On July 6, Reddit user “MrThink2Much” hosted a compelling AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) about what it’s like to lose your sense of sight as an adult. The 21-year-old lives with open-angle glaucoma, a form of glaucoma where pressure continues to build in the eye that can cause permanent vision damage. After neglecting his doctor’s advice and medical treatment, he became legally blind in his left eye and partially blind in his right eye.

The AMA prompted a wide range of questions including what it means to be legally blind, why MrThink2Much didn’t seek medical treatment in time to save his sight and what adjustments he’s had to make since becoming blind. His responses were so honest that we decided to compile a few of them. Take a look:

1. “If you hadn’t neglected the issues, could your vision have been saved? Do you regret not taking action sooner?

Yes, I could’ve led a normal life and had normal problems.

I know it sounds strange, but I don’t regret it. Yes I could’ve been “OK,” but I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I like who I’m becoming. Oh, and I know who my real friends are and who really loves me. It’s everyone who was there for me during my darkest time.

2. “What do you miss the most about being able to see?

What don’t I miss? Walking through the forest at night, being able to trust my steps, seeing people in their wholeness. Nature is still beautiful to me, but I remember it’s wholeness as well. I miss looking up the sky and actually being able to make out stars. I miss basketball. I miss making complete direct eye contact with people, I miss looking at my loved ones up close. The bottom half of peoples faces just disappear when I’m talking to them close. I can’t see their facial expression if they smile, etc. Just the small things we can take for granted.

3. “How would you say you’re interactions with other people have changed since you became legally blind? Do you have any worries about your future relationships with others because of your blindness?”

I am well aware of how I interact with people, which is self-conscious most times. I can’t tell if someones going for a handshake unless I look down, so sometimes I just look into someones eyes while they have their hands out ready to shake mine. I also give a high-five when fist bumps are called for and vice versa.

I do have worries about my future relationships. Will a woman accept me if I’m crosseyed and I can’t totally protect her at night? Will new social circles completely understand why I can’t go to the nightclub or why I have to sit out from doing normal things like playing sports? I don’t know.

4. “I’m 16 right now and have an elevated risk of glaucoma due to high ocular pressure and unusually thick corneas. My question is: why would you skip the eye drops? They could have completely reverted your condition!”

Glad you’re not a stubborn, delusional kid like I was. I did use the eyedrops, but once they were gone, I never went back for more.

I could’ve easily avoided all this, but I kind of like who I’ve become. Please listen to your doctor, and stay strong, my fellow young glaucoma warrior.

5. “Going blind has always been my greatest fear. So my question is simply, how do you cope with it? If a friend were to lose their sight, what should I tell them?”

Cope. You just do. There’s no way out of it, it’s real, it’s already here and it’s going to happen. It just is and you just do. I wonder the same thing about cancer patients, people who are terminally ill, etc., and the only thing I can think of is they just do because they have to.

But I don’t know if I would have been as strong if my family wasn’t there to cope with me. A strong support is absolutely instrumental for these types of situations. Seriously, nothing could’ve made me feel so much better, so much safer. If a friend were to lose sight, tell them you’ll be there for them. Hold their hand and help them walk; read things for them. We’re meant to handle difficult situations. That’s really all I can say.

Read the entire AMA here.

Originally published: July 8, 2015
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