Defining "Legally Blind"

Author: James Rath

- So recently on Twitter I've gotten quite a few messages regarding blind am I. Not really even worded like that. I've gotten messages asking, "How can you even type if your blind?" Or, "How do you make movies if your blind? "That's impossible." So first off, just because someone is blind, hearing impaired, has a physical disability, or any sort of disability, whether it's obvious or not, don't assume someone's limitations by any means. That's probably one of the most ignorant things you can do. Not saying that they were doing that ... You were'nt.

I understand the curiosity, I obviously identify myself as legally blind. So when you hear the word blind, you probably are thinking of the stereotypical, "I need a cane, a service dog, "and every time I open up my eyes, everything's black." Uhmm, no it's ... Doesn't quite work like that. I also work on a weekly basis with people who are blind. Since I was 14 years old I've been working with kids who are blind, teenagers and now I work with adults who are blind. Besides if someone is stereo-typically blind what makes you think that they need to see in order to type? Because if you still stare at a keyboard as you're typing you might wanna go back to Type To Learn 3. Internet high five if you remember what that is.

I work for a company that makes very accessible products for universally everyone. There are tons of things in the software and hardware that this company makes, that make it as easy for a blind person to use their phone as it is for someone who is just buying a phone from this company. Same thing with a computer or a tablet. Just don't assume you know someone's limitations because just let people surprise you. Second, yeah I am legally blind.

According to the Social Security Administration here in the United States, legal blindness is 20/200. Now I can't really explain to you what these numbers mean, I'm not the person for that but i'm sure if you've gone to an eye doctor you've learned at one point or another what your vision is, according to these numbers. 20/20 obviously I'm sure you've heard of is perfect vision, perfect human vision at least. The higher the second number, the less vision visually there is.


To kind put it into perspective my vision is 20/200 which is right at the mark for being legally blind. On top of that though I also have a thing called nystagmus, which causes my eyes to rapidly quiver. See that? I can't control my eyes. They're just moving. I don't even know that they're moving, I don't feel it. But I know because they're always moving. What that's doing is constantly making my already terrible vision even worse. It's just makin' thngs kinda motiony, out of focus.

My brain tries to do its best to stabilize the vision but again the human body is not perfect by any means, and perfection is all but an opinion. I'm kinda gettin' a bit off topic. To kinda put it a bit into perspective, say there's a bird 400 feet away. Now if I'm next to someone, say you. If you have 20/20 vision, you could see that 400 feet away. In order for me to clearly see it, it would have to be 20 feet away, if not even closer just because of the nystagmus. I honestly don't know how scientifically and medically that analogy is.

Analogy, analogy ... Analogy, am I saying that right? Anyway I got that off Yahoo Answers so hopefully that's accurate, I don't know. Yeah I'm legally blind, I make films, I make videos. I act, I write, and I can use technology, no problem, thanks to the resources and tools I have. And also just the talent. I mean I'm not by any means cocky about what I do. I'm just confident and I'm over the fact that yeah, I've struggled the majority of my life with a visual impairment, but I'm using film to kinda help see and share my creativity. Looking through a viewfinder though things are a whole different story.

I'm able to magnify the world around me. Just to bring up two more points. People always say, "Oh, why don't you just wear contacts? "Why don't you just wear glasses?" That's not quite gonna help in my situation because of the nystagmus and lack of pigment in the eyes.

Glasses and contacts only magnify an already blurry image. I do wear reading glasses sometimes and what it's doing though is causing more blind spots on my sides. So I lose more peripheral vision, and it's just making things in front of me larger and a little bit blurrier. Which can help at times but other times though, it doesn't, it's hit and miss. And lastly, just something you never do if someone says they've a visual impairment or they're legally blind. Never do the fingers, never say, "How many fingers am I holding up?" or "How many fingers am I holding up?" Like it's the most ignorant and annoying thing in the world.

I hope you learned something today. I know it's not universally known, I know when you hear of the term blind, you're probably thinking of a dude with sunglasses, the cane, or a dog. Try to lose that mentality and just be kinda open minded that there are so many different levels of blindness.

And there's so many different ways that people tackle their disabilities. I just hope you guys learned something from this video. And if you guys enjoyed it we're gonna have a lot more discussion videos coming up. New videos every week as I've kinda been consistent with, I hope, sort of been, and I'm gonna keep that goin'. New shrip film coming out next month. Not gonna say anything else.

VidCon, VidCon is on less than a month, and I'm gonna be there, hope you are to. If not, ahhh, tickets are probably gone already. There might be tickets, I don't know, double-check. There's probably no tickets left but if you're gonna be at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim California, July 23rd to the 25th, something like that, I think. I think that's right, let's meet. Hit me up on Twitter, links are all gonna be down below. Also I did a video on BeautyChickee's channel, I did some photography and edited her new video that came out today.

So check that out, links are all gonna be down below in description. Check out her channel she does beauty videos and she is really cool. Thank you guys for checking out my video. Again make sure you follow, check out Chickee's video. And I will see you guys next week, bye. (relaxing electronic music).

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