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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

New member here

Just thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you about myself.

I'm a 35 year old legally blind male who was born 3 months premature; and, as a result, I have ROP and Nystagmus in my right eye (20/200 vision) and no vision in my left eye.

With the use of a CCTV magnifier, large print textbooks, and people willing to help; I was able to attend regular public school. In the first grade, they let me use a lighted magnifier; which, did little-to-no good. My Mother saw an article in a newspaper about a boy who had a CCTV magnifier and she made a few phone calls for arrangements to have me tested on such a machine. Back then, the only models available were B&W and green display models. After it was proven that I could easily read normal print with the use of this device, my Mother approached the school district about buying one of these machines for my use at school. They went round and round and the school finally agreed to purchase one, under the condition that my parents buy one for home use; which, they did and I still use it. It's one of the old Visualtek Voyager models with the blue and white cabinet.

I developed a love for electronics at a young age and it wasn't long before I was picking up old radio's and TV's that I'd repair. To this day, people often ask me how I can repair electronic equipment with such limited vision and I tell them that it's by God's grace that I can do it. Sometimes, it may take longer or I may go about the job differently than a fully sighted person; but, I usually get the job done.

I graduated from HS in '95 and went on to the local community college. I wanted to get into the electronics program; but, the advisors at the college didn't want me going that direction. I guess they were afraid I'd poke a soldering iron through my eyeball and then sue the college. They thought I needed to be in the computer information systems technology program; which, I reluctantly agreed to try. After getting in that program, I hated it and the longer I tayed, the worse things got. After 3.5 years, I blew a gasket and walked out with no plans of going back. After about a year, my Mother approached me about going back to college and I told her that I would, under the condition that they let me into the electronics program. So, I laid those conditions out on the table for my counselor and she finally agreed to sign me up for the program, provided that I talk with the instructor first. I had a talk with the head electronics instructor, he said he'd be happy to have me in his class, they signed me up, and I graduated with an AA degree in electronics technology.

For the most part, I've been blessed with stable vision. When I was a kid, I wore glasses that helped a little on distance vision; but, actually made my up-close vision worse. If I hold normal print up very close and if I strain my eyes, I can see it; but, I wouldn't want to look at it for long periods. That's where the CCTV and large print comes in. When I was about 12, my eye Dr. saw what he thought to be the very earliest stages of a cataract on my "good" eye. By my mid 20's, this cataract had made itself fully known; but, the doctors didn't want to rush into surgery, due to the chance that my retina would detach. They advised me to wait until it got to be a "have to" situation. Well, the surgery happened last April, after my vision had worsened to a little over 20/400 and after a specialist told me that the longer we wait, the more difficult the surgery will be. They determined that my retina was stable enough for the surgery and I'm now back to 20/200 vision. I have some very powerful reading glasses that help a little; but, my distance vision is as good as it's going to get. In fact, when they tested lenses in front of my eye for distance, it only made things worse. I am very thankful that the surgery was a success and that my vision is now back to what it once was.

My left eye has always been a dud and actually caused me much pain when I was very young. Then, it went for years without giving any trouble. During the end of my 9th grade school year, it kicked back into high gear and that's when we made the decision to remove it.

Throughout life, you will have people putting you down and saying that you can't do something. It's up to you to show them that you can do it. When I was struggling in college, my own preacher told me that, due to my vision problem, that I couldn't expect to do as well as a fully sighted person. From that moment on, I didn't have much use for that man.

You'll also find that people, both children and adults, will often have snide remarks to say. When I was a kid, I'd usually come back at them. Then, I realized that is exactly what they wanted me to do. I eventually got to the point where I'd ignore them. There will always be ignorant and/or mean people out there who refuse to be educated and are not going to change. You can't let those people bring you down and get in the way of you being a success.

Anyway, you now know a little about me and if anyone has any questions, fee free to ask.

There are currently 6 replies

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Re: New member here

I'm 17 and just started today, well actually new years day but my posts were not going in that day. I go to public school so don't see many blind people. My Email is Don't know if that will make itself a link or not or how to do that. My skype is blake.tracy1. I've put that on a few other posts as well. anyone want to skype me, then please tell me you read it on AFB.

Re: New member here

So I guess this is the unofficial new guy thread then? Excelent.
Hello. My name is Adam Shimp. Like jajoe, I too have Lebers. I've got some light perception, a little ability to identify colors and shapes, but nothing to brag about. I too am new here, having stumbled onto this site while doing a college project about tools and strategies a visually impaired student can employ to complete college projects. Make sense of that sentence if you dare!
Anyway, I've only been here for a few days and I'm already digging this community and this site. Look forward to making friends out of you all.

Re: New member here

Hello my name is Tom. I have RP on left eye and right eye enekuted. if you want to coraspond email me at that goes for anyone.

Re: New member here

Hi I'm Gabby I am new here too don't know what I'm doing but just wanted to say hello :-)

Re: New member here

Hey everyone. I'm also new here. Well kind of. I have known about AFB for several years but I just registered online here a little bit ago. I just made my first forum posts this evening. Anyway, here's a little bit about me. I was born with Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, and only have light perception. I am an avid Braille and speech user, and I love technology. As for work, I have a volunteer position and a paid position. For my paying job, I am an administrative assistant at a local nonprofit that helps people with disabilities live independently. I volunteer for another disability-related nonprofit that has a website which is similar to . We are at , and I am the Social Media Assistant.

Re: New member here

Hi. If you're interested in corresponding, email me at I have very low vision and I'm looking to make friends who can relate. Hope to hear from you.

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