Image Copyright: nyo09
“I shut my eyes in order to see.” – Paul Gauguin
Vision and ADA Compliance
About 6 months ago I began my quest to make the Blumvox Studios website more compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, using a tool that follows specific rules.
Unfortunately, a rules-based tool doesn’t account for every challenge a person may have, and doesn’t account for a pleasing visual impact for those of us who are not impaired.
I’m suddenly visually impaired.
This month I learned what it was like to be handicapped. My eyes – clouded with cataracts – have become so useless that composing a short blog is a chore.
Using a magnifying glass to read, my world is a haze of muted yellow. I’m somewhat handicapped and working on the Blumvox website. It’s eye-opening and mind-blowing as I’m now my own test case!
I should start from the beginning.
I was injured at birth and lost most of the use of my right eye. My left was always all I had to work with.
After 60 years cataracts started developing. My eye doctor thought it was just age and didn’t diagnose me properly. I waited way too long to address the cataracts and essentially began going blind.
Visual Impairment VS. Blindness
A friend who is blind told me that blindness is defined as 20/400 vision and to drive you need 20/40 vision. My left eye is 20/20 my right 20/170, but with the cataracts my distance vision began to worsen.
My Loss of Vision
By November I was barely able to pass an eye test for my driver’s license renewal. I had 20/40 in the left with driving glasses. Without the glasses, my left and right were about the same: poor. Both eyes were degrading rapidly – I was on my way to being blind.
I found a new eye doctor and by this time I had turned over my car keys to my wife. I was diagnosed properly and eye surgery was scheduled. The pre-surgery appointments, measurements, and prep take about a month. My first surgery was on February 4.
My first surgery was on that lazy broken right eye. As the lazer came down on my eye all the memories of doctors poking during my childhood flood back and i panicked. The doc gave me a little more sedation.
I’m awake staring at this ring of lights as a suction cup grabs my eyeball. The laser cuts into my eye correcting 2 of the 7 levels of astigmatism. They install a lens in my eye that corrects another couple of levels. The procedure is over in just a few anxious minutes.
Results – Visual Improvement
Two days after surgery the eye that was useless for my entire life became my dominent eye. My left eye is now fogged to the point where i can’t see much of anything unless it’s within a few feet.
My right eye was 20/170 and is now 20/80. To understand what this means, imagine something you can read at 170 feet away, say a billboard sign from the highway. If your vision is 20/170 you need that billbord to be 20 feet away to see it.
I am so happy with the improvement. In fact, I’m using only the right eye to type this blog. Still, I can’t drive a car but this is temporary. My left eye will be operated on in just a few days and then I will see better than I have my entire life.
The laser will come down on my left eye and I will be grateful as my surgeon makes a repair that wil save me. I will drive my car again, I’ll pick up my camera again and take 1000s of photographs, but I’ll never look at a website or anything I’m working on the same way again.
My Vision for the Future of the Blumvox Studios Website
I know I’m lucky and will have great vision. Not all visually impaired persons are so lucky. I want all of our products and services to be available to anyone that may benefit from them.
If you have an impairment that makes it difficult for you to use our materials, I would love to talk with you and work with you to make our site better. Please reach out.
If you want to reach me, please use the contact form on our website.
Web Designer, Graphic Artist & Photographer
John is currently the Webmaster for Blumvox Studios. If something on our site is broken, I fix it. If something has to be built, I build it.