Mark Ivy is NewView Oklahoma’s Community Outreach Specialist and Public Policy Advocate. He also lives with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a rare genetic eye disorder. On today’s blog, he’s sharing ten things that annoy him when it comes to living everyday life with vision loss.
1. Loud talkers
At times when people see my cane, they think I’m hard of hearing and begin speaking loudly. It’s important to remember that a blind person can hear just fine, unless they also have hearing loss.
2. Touchy people
Every now and then someone will physically try to move me, and it can feel startling and demeaning. Not everyone knows blind etiquette, so this can be a good opportunity to teach that it’s always better to simply alert someone verbally.
Bollards are the steel or cement posts located in front of stores. I think I speak for all blind and visually impaired people when I say they need to be removed. They’re extremely painful to run into, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them used for their intended purpose of acting as a barrier so cars don’t run into the storefront.
4. Produce stickers
There’s no telling how many little stickers I have almost eaten. What makes it worse is that the stickers aren’t always on the fruit, and when they are, they’re often too thin to feel.
5. Can you see this?
People will ask me if I can see things and then ignore the fact that I can’t see what they’re referring to. As an example, a friend of mine has macular degeneration, and she can’t read unless the text is enlarged. She was at a conference when an instructor asked her to move closer to the board. My friend assured her it wouldn’t make a difference, but the instructor insisted, asking her to “move up to the front row and try.”
6. Out of Order signs
Nothing is worse than using the restroom only to find out it’s out of service. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted messing with vending machines and ATMs or waiting on an elevator that’s never going to come.
7. Wet Floor signs
I have kicked countless “caution wet floor” signs across gas stations. Interestingly, it seems like the floor is usually dry, even when these caution signs are out.
8. Assembly instructions
These should come with a magnifying glass—the extremely small type makes an already frustrating task (putting together furniture, appliances, etc.) even more so.
9. Lowered expectations
Sometimes the public will jump to the conclusion that blind people are are incapable of handling day-to-day tasks, which is a misconception. At NewView, for example, we employ CNC machinists, accounting managers and senior directors, all of whom are blind or visually impaired.
10. Revolving doors
In the blind community, we often refer to these as torture chambers or Russian roulette. Standard doors are the safer way to go when you’re visually impaired.