If you would’ve told me 15 years ago that I’d be employed, happy with my job, and completely blind today, I’d probably have laughed at you. Doctors told me this would happen, all my life I knew this. However, I really didn’t pay attention. I mean, I was aware that I could lose my vision; I just didn’t give it any thought as a kid. Why would I? There were many things that occupied my mind at the time.
I could see fairly decent for a “high partial.” 20/200 for most of my life kept me using magnifiers and other low vision technology. I was introduced to JAWS “enough to be dangerous when needed.” However, I rarely used JAWS as straining my neck and looking was my jam. I learned however, how to use a cane and read Braille, thanks to my mom’s encouragement and persistence.
Moving forward a number of years, on February 14, 2019, my vision changed. I noticed I couldn’t see as well as I once used to. The Boy Scouts’ motto is “be Prepared.” I wasn’t prepared for what happened that day at all. I found myself at the ophthalmologist’s office, feeling quite calm in fact, wondering what in the world was happening.
Glaucoma, cataracts, and retina scarring were to blame. Plus, my vision decrease to 20/400 in my only good eye; my right. While I still remember the day, I really didn’t have any feelings about the loss that I can remember. I guess because I still was in shock and realized that losing my vision could happen. My wife at the time, “who is blind herself,) Was more traumatized by the experience than I.
Fast forward a number of years again. I’ve learned to live with the decrease of vision and the constant fog of static over my right eye. I’ve adapted by feeling everything more than I used to. I’ve used VoiceOver on iOS devices more and forced myself to learn the more complex commands and underpinnings of JAWS among other screen readers. I didn’t fight the fact in my mind.
I knew that there was no other way but to detach my monitor and mouse and use JAWS without any crutches. There is a period of time where one grieves the loss of sight. That happened to me; however, I didn’t let the loss of sight stop me from living a full life.
You have to honestly move past the grieving stage and get on with your life. The world and life don’t stop because of vision loss. You have to choose your destiny and what you want to do with your life.
ACB Next Generation can support you and give you guidance. We’re here to help and want you to succeed. I wouldn’t be here without many people who influenced my life and some who still have an impact on my life today. The best piece of advice I can give you is to surround yourself with people whom you want to be like. Strive to become better every day. You can make your vision loss a part of who you are but not let it ruin you.
AUTHOR BIO: Aaron Linson is from Louisville, KY. He has been legally blind since birth with an eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Aaron graduated from Indiana University SouthEast where he earned a B.S. in music with a concentration in audio production and a minor in communications. He also holds a certification for recruiting and sourcing from the Sourcing Foundation Institute (TSFI). He is also the third blind Eagle Scout in the state of Kentucky.
Aaron currently works as a search consultant. His interests include adaptive technology, song writing, playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, bass, and singing. He loves to read and is enthusiastic about Braille and the impact the code holds for every blind and visually impaired person around the world.