When Dale Shawn came to work at NewView Oklahoma last summer, he started as a lineman in the hose manufacturing department but was quickly recognized for his leadership potential. Dale was asked to train for the department lead of hoses, and as with all NewView employees, was encouraged to make an appointment at the Low Vision Clinic in Oklahoma City.
“I figured I’d get adaptive technology, stuff to help me do my job better,” Dale said. “But this turned into an opportunity I didn’t think was possible.”
Dale visited Dr. Roach at the Low Vision clinic, who suggested he try lenses to aid his visual impairment caused by Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Dale stopped wearing glasses several years ago because the glasses were so thick they caused headaches and eventually didn’t improve his vision. But Dr. Roach conducted a thorough and extensive exam, and Dale came out of the appointment with new glasses – and a whole new perspective.
“I walked out to the car, and I could actually see my wife for the first time. Then I looked in the backseat and saw my son smiling, and my daughter making faces at me – which she can’t do now that I can see better,” Dale said laughing. “It was like the world opened up again.”
Dale has lived his adult life with limited vision, seeing only light and color, and his cataracts will eventually progress to the point that he won’t benefit from glasses. So, he says that he’s “enjoying the view while he can.”
“The biggest plus has been being able to see my family. I never thought I’d be able to do that,” Dale said. “But I’m thankful for the time I didn’t have glasses because it made me much more aware of what’s around me and much more capable.”
While his glasses are helpful in his new role as department lead, Dale says that he is not dependent on wearing glasses.
“When you grow up blind, you think you have limitations,” said Dale. “But NewView Oklahoma teaches you that there aren’t any limits if you have the right methods and tools. They take away the excuse that, ‘I’m blind and can’t do it’ and teach that we can be successful and prosperous in what we do. We’re not just the blind and visually impaired. We are productive, and necessary individuals.”