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I wear glasses too...

One thing about living with disability is that it doesn't occur to a lot of people that not only am I hearing impaired, I'm visually impaired too.


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My eyesight isn't the best and Its not something I can do without unfortunately. I do have slight envy for people who can cope in a normal day without wearing glasses. I, unfortunately, cannot.


Unlike my hearing impairment which was a disability I was born with. My vision impairment was actually something that came as a consequence of a really bad habit. Believe it or not, it was a result of reading and jet lag / time difference.


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When I was in high school, my family and I visited the States on holiday. Due to the time difference between GMT (which London and Nigeria are both on) vs the US Eastern time. It meant I couldn't sleep when I was supposed to at night. Whilst in high school, I was an avid reader of books. As long as it had a great story line, I would read it. When it was time to sleep, I couldn't, so I would read books with very low lighting so as not to wake my sisters up. I didn't realize I was damaging my vision in the process. Eventually I adjusted to the sleeping pattern then I stopped. However I started to realize I was struggling with reading things from a far distance but I took no notice of it at the time.


When we headed back to Nigeria with a stop over in England to visit family for a couple of days, due to the time difference, again I couldn't sleep at night. I began reading with low lights again.


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When we were heading back home, my Mum noticed that I kept squinting to read the flight board information or that I asked my sisters to read something out for me. She then started to ask me to read various signs at the airport, and she realized I couldn't see some things or I read them with great difficulty.


As you can imagine, she was quite alarmed, and sent me to the opticians the very next day after we got back home. After my eye test, it was confirmed that indeed, I did need glasses.


Interestingly, I was ecstatic at the news. I always thought people who wore glasses always looked smart / intelligent. So therefore I was going look smart and intelligent too. As soon as I put on my first pair of glasses, the world became so much sharper and clearer, It is a memory I have that is as clear as day. It comes a close second to when I tried on my first pair of hearing aids (with compressed frequencies a few years ago)


Since then, It's been a journey of frames, glasses and changes in prescription.


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Contacts have always been awesome when I am heading out with friends or going for a party, but I hate wearing them to read or work. I read VERY VERY quickly, my eyes move too fast for my contacts to keep up (with the eye movement) so they do not adjust fast enough. Perhaps I haven't found the right pair of contacts yet, but my glasses seem to work just fine for work / reading.


However, Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic (I have just mentally dropped my thousandth 5 cent in my COVID-19 jar for how many times I've heard that phrase "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic") my vision impairment seems to have worsened.


As a result of the increased screen time from my work laptop, home laptop, TV, Smart Phone, Tablets (I read books on my tablet) my vision seems to have worsened. This time I wasn't happy about it as I occasionally felt dizzy and I got constant headaches for a while.


I took a trip to the opticians and when the optician confirmed my new test results, this was literally my facial expression:


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This has forced me to adjust all my screen settings to the night vision (with a brown tint). I think this has helped as the blue light from all screens definitely made my eyes hurt. I'm now making a conscious effort to TRY to reduce screen time (which is hard because literally everything is digital and on screen) or at least use the night vision on these digital items. Samsung has a great feature where it changes your phone screen to black and white at night time, but sometimes you just gatta see the memes your friends are sending you in full color.


Being both hearing impaired and vision impaired, I will admit can be challenging. There are days I really would love to get the eye laser surgery, but I don't think I'm quite there yet plus it's expensive. Would I do it in the future? Maybe?


I am not sure how I feel about it except "it is what it is" (in Trump's Voice). I do have to remember to be kind to myself that despite dealing with two disabilities, I think am doing pretty great!


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Until next time :)

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