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for the Blind

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When is it time to give up on public worklife?

I have been dealing with slowly losing my vision for 25 years - bilateral md - starting at 18 years of age. I have worked this entire time and made great advances in my career. Vision last 10 years has become increasingly difficult in both private and on the job and recently I had another 'wet' occurrence and now find myself at a ridiculous level of performance. My vision is 20/200 (some days 20/100 seeing only one letter) and very spotty/distorted in my left eye and on good days my right eye is 20/70 with very limited number of spots that see.

Over the years I have progressed with technology allowin gme to continue with my career, but I don't want yet I am slowly admitting to myself that I am so far from productive that they will soon decide it is time for me to go.

I have disability insurance that I have paid for almost 20 years and am wondering if it is time to stop clinging to a chapter that is in my past so that I can start to move forward again.

I would appreciate any advice, thank you.

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Re: When is it time to give up on public worklife?

Leita and Tiffany,

If I were the both of you that I'd do research ino adaptations of your job with comparative programs. Meaning that a screen reader like Window-Eyes, Jaws, Supernova, etc might be able to do your same job tasks then maybe you should look into that for your current job. Perhaps take all of your personal days and take a break to sort out with your doctors, vocational rehabilitation counselers, and or technical support staff on your possible alternatives. Then, I would plan accordingly but unfortunately in Tiffany's case there isn't much that I can say because of not knowing your prognosis.

Anyways, if you told us more about your requirements of your job and what you do then maybe we could check for you on whether a screen reader is able to do it. I know that optical character recognition using open book or Kurzweil can be done. It depends on whether or not if its got pictures or other graphics or not and how the formats are laid out for you on the paper. There isn't that much informaiton that I can gleam from your posts but if I had to guess that its possible in your case being the first poster but probably not for LPN down the road anyways. Maybe this post will help the both of you and if not maybe share more information to see if we can help further.

Peter Q Wolfe, sr

Re: When is it time to give up on public worklife?


Yeah, it sounds like you are dealing with a lot of pressures. If you have one eye with 20/40 and no large field loss, then you are not legally blind. Which limits some of the services you can receive, but the fact that you have a hearing impairment as well, can be taken in to consideration. You have a loss in two senses. The loss of hearing, is it in both ears, and how extreme in each ear? What is the major factor in your limitation of working? This is what they will want to know. What is causing you not to be able to work. Vision loss doesn't mean you can't work, but we do not know your full situation. Persons with proper training can overcome many barriers and obstacles. But, we are just going off what you said. I suggest going to the doctor for a proper eye exam from a low vision specialist. You can appeal decisions on Social Security as well.

It sounds like you are dealing with a lot, what type of information are you looking for? I do suggest working with your counselors and doctors. There are advocates out there too, that can help you through the process. Plus, most organization have compliance offices that make sure you are being treated fairly, hence appeals and such.

Hope you have a good day! Sorry that I couldn't help more.

Joe S.
AFB Staff

Re: When is it time to give up on public worklife?

I to am wondering when to give up on work life . My condition is nystagmus with vision loss currently 20/400 practically blind in my right eye. and 20/40 in the left but that was 4 years ago last exam ,I know its worst now. Thing is I know when I go back to the doc he's pulling my DL. And like all Doctors out there they say theres nothing that can be done. Sad thing is when I did apply SSI 4 years ago on advise of my VR worker they denied me . So I'm now in a very bad spot where I just don't know what to do. I recently moved and Im justing waiting on when I go see the doc for his answer. And then to really NEED SSI and just be denied again . As for my job I'm a LPN ( nurse ) . Oh I'm also hearing impaired and no the hearing aids don' help much .. I have made it this far by hiding my disabilities . Which is getting harder and harder to do .


Re: When is it time to give up on public worklife?

Interesting, your vision is being affected by your work? How so? Use of vision doesn't typically cause vision loss, is there some kind of health condition or something. I am a bit confused by that.

I would stay on the my VR counselor or agency, I have a great piece on AccessWorld that offers tips about working VR. I will post a link to article. You really need to be persitent, not rude, but persistent.

Have you thought about learning to use a screen reader and learning braille?

I am visually impaired and losing my vision, down to the less than one percent, only a couple degrees in one eye that is usable. My work isn't causing my vision loss, my eye condition -- interesting that your work is causing it. Did the specialist tell you this?


Read the article for some good basic tips.

I am traveling, so sorry for the delay in response.

Have a great day!

Joe S.
AFB Staff

Re: When is it time to give up on public worklife?

Thank you Joe for taking the time to reply and thank you to all of the AFB staff! Wow! this is a great site, very helpful and encouraging.

You are correct, for many years I have taken advantage of changing and improving technology to assist with my productivity and, thankfully, technology has allowed me to continue the pursuit of my career.

I have already contacted my local Vocational Rehab and I am waiting for a response. I am not sure how much more they can help. I already have a huge monitor with applications that enlarge the documents, additionally I already use magnifiers. Many things I do from memory, that is one good things that losing my vision has helped with =) My memory is much better than it used to be!!

At this point in my 'vision's life' I am fighting to retain as much vision as I can for as long as I can. I am told that stress makes my condition worse and my retina specialist is very supportive in my changing to disability. I have been very prideful that I have continued to work as long as I have, but I have cost myself more of my vision by doing so. I am down to so very little vision, I feel myself going in to self preservation mode and wonder if anyone else has did the same? I can't do anything about the vision I have already sacrificed, but I think I should about what little I have left?

Re: When is it time to give up on public worklife?


I am sorry about the struggles you are facing. I am visually impaired and legally blind with degerative condition, retinitis pigmentosa and a healthy dose of cataracts for good measure. It sounds like you are truly contemplating a lot. I wonder if you have approached your state's vocational rehabilitation agency about getting services specific to maintaining your employment.

I am not sure what you do for a living, but it sounds like you have been working with technology to try and keep your efficiency up. I know technology and assitive technology allows me to work at good rate. But, I will also say that I choose to work longer hours than required, as to make sure I am more productive than others. I know that there are tasks that I cannot complete as fast as a person with standard vision, but I also know there are many tasks that I can complete a lot faster and with better results. At this point, I know I can compete even with working the standard amount of hours, but I have aspirations for more.

I think training in technology, consulting with professionals to find out what your options are currently. I don't think you need to step away and leave work. You are employed, many persons would be extremely jealous of that fact, visually impaired or not. I think maintaining employment or switching jobs while you are currently employed is easier -- then say leaving your job and then looking for another job.

I know that I personally have had to seek out help from professionals for many areas of my life including training, counseling (adjustment to vision loss), connection to resources, and more. Are you connected to a consumer group such as the American Council of the Blind or National Federation of the Blind? These organizations can offer great support and more. AFB has a great resource in AFB CareerConnect where you can connect with mentors who are employed in many career fields, get advice from people who have been there and done that. No one can say they know exactly how you feel, but we can say we have dealt with struggles too.

Feel free to post again, and utilize the resources I have mentioned. Keep your head up and I hope you find the help you need. I know I found it when I needed it most.

Joe S.
AFB Staff

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