OneSight celebrates World Sight Day on October 9, 2014 to increase awareness of the global vision crisis and raise funds for critical OneSight programs.
When Allison went blindfolded for an hour for World Sight Day, few people asked her what she was doing, while plenty of people asked her guide. She quickly understood that awareness is key to making a difference for those without sight.
Today, I was without my sight for an hour to raise awareness of the global vision crisis. I can’t believe how hard it was for just that hour. I started this blog while I was still blindfolded, but of course, it needed some editing. I tried to function as a normal person in the workplace, but I knew I was going to need some assistance.
Before I got started, I was preparing the best I could by doing a few things that I knew would be really hard blindfolded, like going to the restroom and finishing a few emails. I saved preparing my lunch for being blindfolded, because I suspected I would be able to do that pretty well, but even that was hard!
There are so many things that I don’t even think about while doing, like eating! I was unsure as to what my mouth to fork ratio was. I couldn’t see what I looked like of course, but I was laughing to myself. I do think the food tasted even better because my sense of taste was highlighted without being able to see it.
I went to the canteen with the help of my first escort, Brie, to get my food out of the refrigerator and warm it up. The canteen was very busy, so it made it harder to get around. I couldn’t tell who or how many people were around me, but I could hear a lot of action. It felt like even more action than normal.
I eventually found the refrigerator, warmed up my food and even filled my water bottle. Walking to and from my desk was scarier than I thought it was going to be. Even though my escort told me nothing was in front of me, I still reached my hand out because I just didn’t know!
My coworkers helped me open Microsoft Word, although it took me a while to follow her directions exactly and open it up. I tried typing this up a bit, and it went better than expected! Although of course, I couldn’t get into email or any other document without help. And I’m glad I didn’t even attempt excel!
I tried to use my other senses, but since I am not used to relying on them so heavily, they were not as reliable.
Not many people asked me what was going on, they asked my escort. She told them they could ask me, but they still didn’t. There were a few people that asked and I got to tell about World Sight Day and why we were doing it, but I wished that I had gotten the chance to tell more! I think everyone is different, but if I were vision impaired, I would want to talk about it with people and talk about our differences. Especially since I couldn’t see people’s reactions, I wanted to hear about them, and I wish they would’ve opened that door of communication more.
I had to ask my co-workers for help a lot. I didn’t know what time it was or what else I was missing. This severely added to my fear of missing out issue.
I went down to the World Sight Day kickoff launch party that OneSight held and followed my escort’s lead. There was a few times my escort told me to walk straight, but it all felt straight to me! While we were at the kickoff, I talked to a few people that I was able to recognize by voice and picture them in my head! There were a few people that I met while blindfolded that left before I got to take it off and see what they looked like…I may never know! Another one of the women I met was blindfolded as well, so she may never know me either.
I played foosball with a few others and did my best to keep up. Apparently I scored two goals, but I think they were helping me out. I was able to meet them after I took off my blindfold and they looked different than I thought they would, although it was hard to picture anything at all. I think my imagination would grow a lot if I were actually without my vision all of the time. I found it not as natural to interact with people because I usually feed off their energy and their reactions.
This is such an important experience, just getting a very small glimpse as to what it feels like to live without sight. My heart goes out even more to those who face that daily and I am spurred on to give to OneSight and bring light to this cause. Although I couldn’t check email or do much without assistance blindfolded, I think everyone should take some kind of opportunity to see what it’s like to go without their sense of sight. I am even more thankful for my sight and want to give that gift to as many people as possible.
The way I see it, awareness is the key. Those who can help would want to make all the difference for those without sight!