As someone with a degenerative eye disease, I closely follow the research that is being done to restore vision in the blind. However, as I spend more time with the blind community, I find myself less focused on having my vision restored, and more on accepting my blindness. This week I learned about a play called “Molly Sweeney,” which discusses the negative consequences of Molly’s vision being restored.
The play explores Molly’s life before and after she has the surgery. The character lost her vision as a young child and is very happy living in her tactile world. She falls in love, and marries a man who, unbeknownst to her, has decided to find a way to bring back her vision. Her husband’s attitude, in my opinion, closely resembles most of the people that I’ve encountered in my life. Most people can’t fathom losing their vision, so they often think that all of us who have lost our vision want it back. I’m sure that there are many who desperately want to have their vision restored, but I think there are more of us who have accepted who we are, and focus on the gifts and skills that we have without our sight, rather than focusing on what we could be doing if we could see.
With these things in mind, the question is, is being blind as bad as everyone thinks it is? My answer is no, and this is why. There are many times that I’m grateful that I can’t see. Some examples include not being able to judge someone by their appearances, not having to see the ugliness in the world, and the ability to use my other four senses that most people take for granted. These examples may seem inconsequential compared to what I could be experiencing if I had my vision, but the next time you wish that you could have your vision restored, think of what you get to experience that the sighted world doesn’t.
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind