Expect, Plan, and Prepare: Prepare to Be Surprised

Are we talking ‘good’ surprises or ‘bad’ surprises!? I choose to talk about good surprises!

How I got here

I don’t have AMD, but my dad had it and my long-time friend, Sue, currently has it. Three years ago when Sue’s vision declined, I never expected to spend three years researching and helping people with the disease. It’s a great honor to have been asked to join the Health Union team and quite a surprise!

Sue’s surprises

Since February 2016, Sue has written over 600 pages for our website and is now writing for Health Union. She continues to be surprised when people comment on her pages and tell her how inspirational she is. She never expected to have her words read and appreciated around the world. She has been asked, twice, to be part of a summer program in her state for young people who are blind or visually impaired. She’s shown off her toys to a local low vision support group. She’s encouraged individuals who have reached out to her. Just when she thinks she knows what to expect, she gets a good surprise!

White stick/white cane

You may be surprised to find out how a white stick/white cane helps people who are not totally blind but who have a visual impairment. With AMD, there can be a problem with depth perception which means that a person can’t detect changes in elevation of the path in front of them. The white cane helps with that and can prevent falls. As we know, falls become more dangerous as we age.

Travel agencies for those with low vision

There are travel agencies just for trips for those who are visually impaired and their friends and relatives. One such company ’Accessible Cruises and Travel’ says that she makes travel accessible and “a multisensory experience.” Don’t be surprised! Here’s a page with more travel services. You can also do an Internet search using ‘travel low vision.’ There are LOTS of matches!

"Two Blind Brothers"

There are successful businesses built and run by visually impaired people. A notable one is called ‘Two Blind Brothers’ started by brothers Bradford and Bryan Manning who have Stargardt disease which is a type of macular degeneration which affects young people. They were diagnosed at the age of seven, graduated high school and college. Their company makes clothing that is ‘interesting’ to the touch. All their profits go toward research programs that are developing therapies for retinal eye disease cures. What a wonderful surprise!

Smart glasses

Let’s say that you have blind spots from AMD which make it difficult for you to read text on a page. Don’t be surprised that you can put on a pair of ‘smart glasses’ or ‘smart goggles’ that will read the text in front of you out loud! This technology is developing rapidly and currently offers many of the same functions as we have on our smartphones but hands-free! Some also will magnify what’s in front of you, identify currency bills and colors, scan a barcode to tell you what a product is, and much more! The article ‘Electronic Smart Glasses Create Hope for the Legally Blind’ tells us about one model called NuEyes. There are others such as eSight, Aira, OrCam. Exciting new research is working on smart glasses that will use Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to fill in gaps in a person’s vision! That is surprising even to me! ::smile::

Expect, plan and prepare

As we come to the end of this series, I remind you of the quote I started with from Denis Waitley:
“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”

I hope these pages have helped you know what to expect, given you ways to plan for the worst, and offered you hope that there are good surprises ahead!

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