What’s it like to be visually impaired? The vast majority of people are fortunate enough to take for granted their good vision and go about their daily activities with confidence. They don’t think about obstacles that block their path, especially those such as new roadworks, “A” signs, scaffolding, etc that pop up and obstruct a normal and regular route. They simply observe and avoid them, carrying on regardless.
So what happens when that sight is taken away, albeit temporarily, and those same journeys are repeated? Many emotions immediately come to the fore, predominantly fear, a lack of independence and self-esteem. It’s therefore hardly surprising to note that many visually impaired people feel tied to the comfort and security of their homes and familiar surroundings, rather than having to venture outside and deal with uncertainty. It’s therefore sad yet unsurprising to report, that the visually impaired suffer a 75%+ unemployment rate. This week is Disability Works week, an initiative by the BBC's business and economics unit, which is promoting positive role models as well as the challenges faced by the visually-impaired and disabled community in general.
Both private and public sectors need to work on resolving this situation, in partnership with amazing charities such as the RNIB. One of best ways to appreciate the challenges faced by the visually impaired is to don a pair of sight loss glasses and immerse yourself in that environment. It stirs up contrasting emotions of uncertainty, fear, understanding and ultimately empathy. Not Seeing is believing!
Conspexit is currently prototyping and designing an application that will personally assist people with a visual impairment to gain greater independent mobility but we’ve also taken on another challenge; raising awareness around sight loss.
Someone who recently took up this challenge to experience such a journey was The Member of Parliament for The London Borough of Kingston & Surbiton, James Berry. He was invited by one of his constituents and The RNIB to walk down New Malden High Street with a pair of sight loss spectacles.
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