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Keep the Blind in Mind

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It was Helen Keller who once said: “The only thing worse than blindness is having “SIGHT” but no “VISION”.

The month of May has been declared Blindness Awareness Month. In this light I would like to ask all of you to “Keep the Blind in Mind”. Blindness may be a disability, but it is not an inability.{{more}}

Our present world has been developed with the sighted in mind. People without sight are not as well favoured and are sometimes seen as a burden to society.

We need to overcome such negative programming. It is not uncommon for blind people to go into depression, especially those who could see before they went blind. We have to be sensitive to the needs of such persons.

Close your eyes for a minute and enter the world of the blind. Try moving around with your eyes closed. Recount the things you attempted to accomplish during the temporary black out. You will admit there was a certain pre-knowledge of your surroundings and where things are. In blind people this pre-knowledge is heightened to the nth degree. All their other senses are heightened to compensate for the loss of sight. You will also appreciate that it is not that easy to navigate the world in such a state.

Here are a few things to consider when dealing with a blind person:

* Whenever you enter or leave a room where there is a blind person, announce your presence.

* Make every effort to familiarize a blind person with a new environment.

* Do not speak through third parties; speak directly to the blind person.

* Whenever extending a hand of friendship, always prompt the blind person.

* When guiding a blind person to a chair start by placing their palm on the back or seat of the chair.

* Remember there is no need to shout; most blind persons can hear.

* Seek to gently guide the blind. Do not drag them.

Most of all remember that blind eyes are not blind minds.

My best regards go out to the National society of and for the Blind for the excellent job they are doing in the rehabilitation of blind persons in St Vincent & the Grenadines.-

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210

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