Opening our eyes to the plight of the blind | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Opening our eyes to the plight of the blind

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Never before had I experienced and understood the difficulties faced by the blind until last week. My left eye became badly infected and had to be covered with a dressing for four days. Technically, I was temporarily half blind except when I sometimes felt so uncomfortable I tried to peek at things through the gap between the gauze and my cheek. To relieve some of the embarrassment about wearing a big gauze pad over my eye, I donned big sunglasses, even at night, during those four days. 

Without any scientific knowledge of human vision, I started to notice differences between seeing with both eyes and seeing with only one. My observation was that I failed to see in three dimensions and that my field of vision and depth perception decreased. I could not see the ground or flights of stairs as clearly, so I occasionally missed my step. I could not see people and things moving out of the corner of my left eye and I misjudged distances.

During those four uncomfortable days, I unintentionally bumped into people walking past on my left side. During that time, I could not see them at all if they were walking close behind and trying to overtake me or if they were strolling from the opposite direction from a shorter distance than I could make out. When such things happened, those people looked either angry or surprised. I'd promptly apologise and explain that I could only see with one eye. I even had to wai the disgruntled ones. Once they heard the reason, they became sympathetic. I believe they forgave me because they thought I was really half blind. Whenever I went to a convenience store to buy something, I had problems looking for stuff on shelves beside me and below waist level. When I asked a shop assistant for help, she looked bothered at first but became helpful when I said I could see out of only one eye. I did not mean to lie about being blind and felt a bit guilty, as my short but easy explanation might be misleading.

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