Friday, November 13, 2015

Falling Friday - Kindness and Vision

Today is World Kindness Day, the day when we are asked to acknowledge the role kindness has played in our lives, and to pay kindness forward.

So, what does that have to do with a day that is Friday the 13th in the United States, a day that many consider as a day of bad luck?

Or, falling, especially in seniors, something that has happened to several people I love?  Falling kills.  It changes lives forever.

What I would like to do today, is pay forward the kindness of the various people who spoke or taught at the Falls Prevention classes I took in May and June of this year in Binghamton, New York, and repeat some of the knowledge shared with me.

This post about vision, especially, resonated with several of my readers.  Those who are losing their vision, I was told, should not fear.  A blogger who blogs about her experiences with something called Usher Syndrome,  which affects both vision and hearing, commented on my post as follows:

"The thing about fear is that it's usually worse than the real thing. Everything is do-able with retraining and the right attitude."

Amy Bovaird

Amy inspires me - despite all the losses in her life, she continuously shows kindness, and shares her experiences with the world, with humor, and optimism. 

Today, I would like to pay her hope forward.  Vision isn't just the ability to see with your eyes.  It is the ability to feel with your heart.  Be kind to ourselves, and if you have the opportunity to pay kindness forward today, please do so.

Here is the post.

Falling Friday - The Non Persistance of Vision

I've been reporting, from time to time, what I have been learning in a falls prevention class.  As my regular readers know, I have fallen several times in the past few years. For the month of June, I am featuring a Falling Friday feature to share some of what I've learned with you.

I am extremely nearsided, and I learned about the importance of vision at an early age. I've been wearing glasses since I was four.  Since the age of around eight, my non corrected vision has been in the realm of what the State of New York considers legal blindness.  Fortunately (at least up to now), it has been correctable with glasses.

At our class Wednesday, we were treated to a talk by Diane McMillan of AVRE in Binghamton, New York.  Diane is dual-certified as a low vision therapist and a vision rehab therapist, and personally suffers from a couple of disabling eye diseases.  So, not only can she talk the talk, she also knows, from personal experience, what "it is like".

What is AVRE?
"AVRE is a private, non-profit organization that serves people with sustained and severe vision loss. People of all ages, from infants to seniors, can and do benefit from our services. We offer a range of learning. living, and working options for people with sustained and severe vision loss."

There are many eye diseases that can affect vision. Anyone suffering from these conditions becomes more prone to falling.  In fact, a blogger I enjoy, Amy Bovaird , has blogged at length about her life with a vision disability, her adventures (if I can call them that) in falling and how her life has strengthened her faith.  Amy's blog is Christian faith-centered but there are other bloggers with vision impairments who blog from a more secular viewpoint.

It turns out that a couple of people in my class suffer from macular degeneration.  Diane explained it so well, complete with pictures taken that show the way people with macular degeneration will see a particular picture vs. people with healthy eyes, that I understand it better now.  Amy Bovaird's blog has a lot of information about macular degeneration.

We also learned about glaucoma.

Diane's message was a message of hope.  She taught us (noting I am not a medical professional, or vision professional, and you should have annual eye exams, always):

1.  Be self aware.  Test yourself monthly (it only takes a couple of minutes) with something called an Amsler Grid.  Diane told us that you have any problems (the website describes what you are looking for when you use the grid) consider this an emergency and contact an eye care professional immediately.  In general, if anything is amiss, err on the side of caution and report it to your eye care professional immediately.  Sometimes, a timely exam can be the difference between a good outcome, and the opposite.

2.  Have that annual eye exam!  The eye cancer someone I know has made a full recovery from was detected on an annual eye exam.

3.  If you are diagnosed with an eye disease, all is not lost.  Some conditions can be treated.  Other conditions may not respond to treatment, but with proper training, and assistance, you can still lead a worthwhile life.  The two women in my class with macular degeneration were proof of that.

#3, especially, resonated with me, because I have always dreaded the day the eye doctor will say "we no longer have a prescription for you."  I can hope that day never comes.

But if it does come, I hope I will understand it is not the end, but rather, a new beginning.


  1. I am terrified of losing my vision, so thank you for sharing your inspiring and positive outlook.

  2. It's amazing what help there is out there for those who are losing their vision. Not that I'd wish it on anybody. There are all sorts of wonderful tools to help.

  3. Amy's blog has been such an inspiration to me, too. And it's sounds like you had an opportunity to be especially encouraged by your speaker at the meeting. It's a blessing to encourage one another with simple acts of kindness.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Alana. <3

  4. Its sounds so scary to have issues related to vision and thanks for sharing your post and enlightening about these problems. appreciate your kindness today:)

  5. Your post is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.


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