Monday, 8 April 2019

Would I take full sight if offered it?

Today a non-shooting post, rather a post about vision impairment. The question of whether if I were offered full sight, would I take it?

This question comes up for me from time to time. The question is a theoretical question in my case as at the moment there is nothing out there which could actually do this. However it is still an interesting question.

Many think the answer would be obviously a yes. There are times when life can be difficult as a vision impaired person, when being able to see would make the task so much simpler. So why when I think about the question do I feel it is not that simple and possibly my answer would be no.

I have always had a vision impairment since birth. This means that the lack of sight feels like it is part of who I am and it has probably has made me who I am today. This probably is explained a bit through some examples of what I mean.

  1. As you may know I work as a software developer. My real interest in software was triggered back when I was studying physics at university and was having trouble getting mathematical documents in a format I could read. The software out there at the time was simply not good enough and so I started to write some software for my own use. As I felt the benefit of the software I was writing, it made me realise what a difference software could make. If it had not been for this experience, would I feel so strongly about wanting to write software and that software should be accessible to all? Possibly not and my life may have taken a different direction.
  2. Likewise my vision impairment possibly has lead me to shooting. I got into shooting when I was at school, it was a school for the blind and they had a shooting club actually at the school. I decided to try shooting to see what it was like and ever since then I have been hooked. Also as you may know, vision impaired shooting is not yet a paralympic sport, although there has been attempts to develop it to that point for many years. So when the IBSA shooting chairman asked for help back in 2011, I stepped forward wanting to help develop the sport I enjoy so much. If I were not vision impaired would I have even tried shooting and would I have got involved in the sport development and governance?

The other thing is that having a vision impairment is normal for me as that is how my life has always been, full sight would be totally new and strange at first. That raises questions of how I would feel about it, would it change how I view things and may others change how they feel about me? Also would I be able to cope with it and learn to use it, or would it just overload me with an excess of confusing information? It is not really possible to answer these, but I cannot believe that at least some of this may happen.

Finally I am fairly comfortable with who I am, life is quite good, a job I want to do, a sport I enjoy, etc. Yes there are things which may be difficult, but with the right tools and help these normally can be overcome. Remember with my shooting I can hit a spot 0.5mm in diameter at 10 meters distance, so surely there must be solutions for the more every day things. I do get mixed feelings about research for cures, I don't want to be cured of who I am, I just want help to be able to live my life.

I must point out this is my views. Other people with a different life experience, in particular those who have had full sight and lost it, may feel quite differently.

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