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Happy Disability Employment Awareness Month!

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and it’s time to celebrate, Friends! Cheers to those of us who work through our disabilities day in and day out (or did in the past to our retirees!)…seriously, you ROCK!

NDEAM

NDEAM celebrates contributions of all workers, especially those of us with disabilities who are still getting up each and every morning to tackle the day, no matter what it brings.

Though our awesome community members overcome the obstacles that macular degeneration brings every month of the year, October is when others are being made aware of the value in including everyone in the workforce. We ALL bring unique skills and talents…and we simply refuse to be defined by our disabilities.

The right talent, right now

The theme for this year’s NDEAM celebration is “The right talent, right now.” The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta says, “Every day, individuals with disabilities add significant value and talent to our workforce and economy. Individuals with disabilities offer employers diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success. Individuals with disabilities have the right talent, right now.”

How powerful is THAT? When our futures sometimes seem uncertain (and our economy too), our right now is all we really have. And right now…we are rockstars ready to take on any challenge in front of us.

Should I tell my employer about my disability?

We’ve all been there…questioning whether or not we should tell our employer about our vision struggles, wondering if we will be looked down upon for needing yet another day off of work for an appointment or even asking for an accommodation in order to be able to do our jobs to our full potential.

Revealing a disability can feel scary

I’ve heard it time and time again, “You seem so normal.” Ummm…I am normal. And my disability is not something you can see by looking at me. I hide my struggles with vision well, as I have been dealing with it my whole life and to me, it is normal. Some of us may even wonder if we can be as efficient or as successful or as convincing as another without our same obstacles.

If you’re struggling with these feelings too, let me be the first to tell you…you CAN do anything you put your mind to. In fact, disabilities tend to turn into superpowers if you let them. Not only can we do it all, we do it with our whole hearts…we are not defined by our disability.

World Sight Day

On top of this month celebrating the importance of workers with disabilities, October 10th is World Sight Day!

On World Sight Day the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, or IAPB, has these goals:

  • Raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues
  • Influence governments and Ministers of Health to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs
  • Educate about blindness prevention and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities

Vision impairment facts

  • 36 million people are blind
  • 217 million people are suffering from moderate or severe distance vision impairment
  • Of those 217 million people, 124 million people have uncorrected refractive errors and 65 million people have cataracts
  • One BILLION people have near-vision impairment (simply because they live in lower-income countries and are in need of glasses!)
  • 55% of visually impaired people are women
  • The percentage of blindness and vision impairment combined has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.37% in 2015. Yay!
  • 4.1 percent of the 253 million people living with moderate or severe vision impairment are living with age-related macular degeneration. That’s more than 10 MILLION people!
  • More than 75 percent of all blindness and moderate or severe distance vision impairment is AVOIDABLE1

Read that again, Friends. This information was based on statistics from 2015.

How can I help?

As I read these statistics, two things stood out to me. One, the percentage of people struggling with vision impairment is dropping so we are all doing something right! Second, so many people are suffering through low vision without glasses. Seriously…just heartbreaking. Now, all I can think is…how can I help?

Happy World Sight Day and Disability Employment Awareness Month to you, my Friends! You ROCK!

Andrea Junge

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MacularDegeneration.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  • Global Vision Impairment Facts. IAPB. https://www.iapb.org/vision-2020/who-facts/. Accessed October 14, 2019.
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