How I See (RNIB #HowISee Campaign)

One of the common misconceptions about those of us with visual impairments is that we have no sight at all. It’s as if some people think eyesight is on or off, like flicking a light switch. I’ve had people assume this about me in the past, and have even had people telling others that I’m blind, because they don’t know how to explain it properly.

But the fact is that 93% of people who are registered partially sighted or blind can see something. Every single visually impaired person sees the world in their own unique way, some better than others. It’s a huge spectrum. So don’t assume that a visually impaired person cannot see at all, because 93% of the time you’ll be wrong.

The RNIB are spreading awareness of this simple fact using their #HowISee campaign. They have been asking people to make short videos about how they see, and this is my contribution. It’s had a big reaction on Twitter and Facebook already, so please do feel free to share it and help spread the message.

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Speaking at the Nystagmus Network Open Day

On Saturday, I attended the Nystagmus Network‘s Open Day in Birmingham, the first time I’ve ever been to an event of this nature. The only time I’ve previously met a group who share one of my eye conditions was after Sight Village last year, when I got together with a handful of people with aniridia in a coffee shop. And that was wonderful, but this weekend’s event was on a much bigger scale. This time, I was going to a big conference for people with nystagmus with hundreds of people in attendance. And I was very much looking forward to.

However, I was also nervous, because I had been invited to be one of the speakers – making this the first time I would ever give a talk in public about myself. I wrote in my last post about how this came about, and how I prepared for it. So now I want to tell you about the day itself and how it went. You can also see a vlog from the weekend on my Youtube channel.

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Preparing For My First Public Talk

This weekend I was invited to attend the Nystagmus Network Open Day in Birmingham. Although I’ve been to things like Sight Village before, where I got to meet a handful of people with aniridia, I’ve never been to a large, dedicated conference for people with the same eye condition to network and find out information. So that in itself was going to be interesting.

But I wasn’t just a regular attendee – I was going to be one of the speakers! So that meant doing another first – publicly talking about myself and my life. This was naturally a daunting prospect, but exciting too. So I agreed to give it a go, it was worth a try.

And I combined this with yet another first – recording a proper travel vlog, the pilot episode of “Glen Cam”! I didn’t film inside the event, but I recorded myself before and after. I’m currently editing it all together, so you’ll be able to see that on my Youtube channel very soon.

But I wanted to write in detail about my experience as well, which I’m going to split over a couple of posts so it doesn’t get too long. I’m then going to publish a written article version of my speech here, and a video version on my Youtube channel, so you can see what I said, and maybe it will give you some inspiration and reassurance too. So I’ve got quite a bit to share!

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50 Random Facts About Me

This is an idea I’ve seen elsewhere that I thought might be fun to do, so you can find out a bit more about me. A few of these facts you’ll know from elsewhere in my blog, but most I’ve never mentioned here before.

Since posting this, I’ve also made a video, which contains some of the same information as this post, but also some different facts as well, so do check it out:

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VIP Tag

While looking around Youtube channels and blogs by other visually impaired people, I’ve seen the VIP (Visually Impaired Person) Tag come up numerous times. And thanks to the wonderful Emily Davison from Fashioneyesta, I was finally tagged to do it.

It was originally created by Chatty Chelby, and it’s an interesting way of telling the community about yourself. So I’ve put my answers together in this post, and have also produced a video version too. I hope you enjoy my responses!

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Living with Nystagmus

Following on from my previous post about Aniridia, I want to use this post to talk about another condition I have – Nystagmus (specifically Congenital Nystagmus, meaning I’ve had it since birth, as I have with Aniridia).

As mentioned in my Aniridia post, I’ve had my visual impairments all my life, so I’m used to them and have adapted to them. They certainly haven’t stopped me living a happy and successful life – and others deal with it very well too, including TV’s Richard Osman. So these posts aren’t intended to be negative. I just want to describe the main effects they have on me.

I’ve also made a video about living with the condition, which may help to explain things further.

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Hello

Hi there. I’ve decided to have a little go at writing a blog, after discovering and enjoying a number of disabled bloggers and vloggers recently, particularly those with visual impairments like myself. I knew there were disabled communities and forums online, naturally, but I hadn’t previously felt a big need to look into them before.

Last year, however, I became aware of Scope’s End The Awkward campaign, which included some nice videos, and also Fashioneyesta‘s excellent videos on disability, a number of which I felt inclined to comment on. I’ve continued to dig around Youtube and online blogs a bit more since then, and found many posts and videos that I found very interesting and could easily relate to.

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