How Much Can I See?

This is a question that won’t go away. The easy answer is I can’t see shit, but as fun and flippant that response it isn’t very informative. Formal visual acuity measurement is 20/200 corrected on a good day, even though this is a formal measurement of visual acuity with a recognized measurement scale to you and I this definition is useless.

Recently I’ve resorted to percentages. I see 95% less than you but that does imply sight and when sight is implied so are capabilities. At work even though people know I’m legally blind they still expect me to be able to do certain things, which generally isn’t the case. I’m a writer a published writer even, it doesn’t mean I’m a good writer technically and grammatically because I’m not. Work as seems to be the norm lately is tenuous. I don’t want to be considered incompetent because of a few things I don’t do well.

  • I don’t write expertly
  • I can’t collaborate 1 on 1, or in small groups over a laptop of a screen
  • I can’t collaborate with any size group with a hard copy document

It still means to be successful professionally I have to be the best of the best of the best sir. Since there are many many things I can do and some things I can do brilliantly. It’s a matter for the employer if they can take the great and the not so good, its not even the bad as I can manage around things.

On-going at work, I am struggling, I work for a health care organization so you would assume that they would be more enlightened and open to accommodation of persons with disabilities. I’ve run into ego and perhaps politics.. There are people that will be impacted by my current work one way or another. There are organizational changes and decisions I am supporting that could be misconstrued as threatening to these people. Its not really but we all know that people are not rational.

When I joined the company these people at work wouldn’t get me any gear to do work. For several weeks I brought my own gear. These people then gave me gear that didn’t meet my needs. I brought in a 30” monitor from home and they provided another 30” monitor with less resolution than my monitor. They’d decided that I didn’t “need” certain things because I’m blind and wouldn’t notice the difference, I did and continued to use my 30” monitor.

It gets worse. When I clued in that I wasn’t going to get anything from my employer I brought in a 46” TV as this is the best sized screen for me to work with. I continue to use my Mac and I’ve brought in a scanner, chair, KVM switch as well. I’ve spent over $3000 to be able to work for this employer. The people giving me grief have come to me on several occasions and told me that my gear isn’t allowed. I’ve been told to my face that I am breaking company policy by accommodating myself. I’ve had the specific features of my gear questioned and comments made that I don’t need this or that.

These people are commodity technicians they have no accommodation experience. I’ve escalated the issue and its happened again there is email traffic being exchanged behind my back questioning my solution. I’ve had to escalate the issue a second time. I “think”, but I’m not sure that some people were told to back off. I unfortunately have heard that they don’t get it and are grumbling behind my back, still. I fully expect another “attack” or work place harassment incident. I will escalate further soon as necessary.

Historically I’ve tried to build a bridge to sighted people and explain to them what I could and couldn’t see from a sighted perspective. I can see 95% less than you. What I am pondering is whether taking a blind approach may work better? I am blind but I can see about 5% and I have about 5% of the energy you have for visual tasks. The energy bit is important for people that expect you to be able to perform, side show blind person, at a level that is not sustainable.

Hopefully this new approach to explaining my visual acuity will be more helpful in setting the context. Hopefully I am not deemed to be incompetent, again, because of things that I’m not good at as apposed to the things I’m brilliant at. Here’s hoping. I’m looking for a lawyer and a job just in case things get stupid, again.

Posted in: Employment, Living

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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