Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Does blindness mean darkness?

Although I chose the name "A shot in the dark" for my blog and FaceBook page relating to my shooting, you may be surprised to learn that being blind is not the same as seeing darkness. In this post I will give you my personal experience, however remember that it may be different for others. Also remember not all who are vision impaired are totally blind, some may have some sight and for these the amount of sight and how it affects them may differ from person to person.

So a little history about me. I have always had sight problems since birth. At first I could see a little bit, enough to see colours, basic outlines and with the help of very strong magnifiers I could even read some print. However my eye condition meant that my sight would gradually deteriorate over time, eventually ending with no sight.

One of the problems with gradual loss of sight is that the brain can be very good at filling in what it expects. This can make it very difficult to actually know how much you can see as you go about day-to-day tasks. It is not until you notice that you are missing things or when you get your sight tested before you realise that your sight has got worse. As an example this time last year I could just perceive light with my right eye but now I have no sight at all. I could not say exactly when within that year I lost the light perception, around April I started to notice I was making mistakes about whether a light was on in the room and at my sight classification in Croatia I had confirmation from someone else that there was no longer light perception. Even though I know I have no light perception, my brain still fills in seeing the light come on when I press a light switch in my house.

As well as creating sensible images to fill in for a lack of sight, the brain can come up with some really strange images as well. I have heard someone say that flying chickens is a fairly common image to get, although it really can be anything you could possibly imagine. This seeing things which are not there is known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Some can find this quite disturbing particularly if they do not know what is going on and why they are seeing these images. Fortunately I had a doctor explain this to me around the time I first encountered it and so knowing nothing is wrong I have just learned to live with it going on.

The brain can keep doing this for years after sight is entirely lost. I lost all sight in my left eye back in 2006 and I am still seeing a glowing colourful pattern in my left eye today in 2019. I do not think my left eye has seen dark in all the years since I lost the sight in that eye. So may be "A shot in the dark" is not an accurate description for me, however I found the title too tempting when I found ashotinthedark.online available as both a web address and a FaceBook page.

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