How Technology Has Made My Visually Impaired Life More Accessible | As Told By a Legally Blind Photographer

I remember being 16, waiting in line to order food, not being able to read the menu on the wall. I would strain my ears to hear what the person ahead of me was ordering, and hope whatever they ordered was tasty because whatever they were gonna order, that’s what I would order too.

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Refresher: I have Macular Dystrophy, a genetic eye condition causing extreme near sightedness, lack of central vision and sensitivity to light, currently cure-less. I got a Macbook when I was 17, my first smartphone when I was 18 (a Sidekick, remember those?) then an iPhone when I was 20. Life has changed for the better ever since.

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. All of them require you to turn ON the specific functions thought the Macbook > System Preferences and iOS>General>Accessibility.

Without these, I would not be able to use neither my phone nor my laptop. As you can see from the images above, i zoom in LIKE YOUR GRANDMA.

Zooming in on the Macbook.

Control + swipe in and out with 2 fingers on your trackpad.

Zooming in on the IPhone

Triple tap with three fingers and swipe in and out.

Large Fonts on the IPhone

Crank it up to 11, bruh (or, whatever the largest font is!!)

The Magnifier Tool on the IPhone

Triple tap the home btuton on the iphone to enable to magnifier tool, which is basically a fancier camera app that lets you zoom in a lot. My vision in 2018 deteriorated to the point where I could not read anything smaller than a size 14 or so, so this tool has become my GO TO for everyday living.

Using The Phone’s Camera To Read What My Eyes Cannot

Take a picture. zoom in. Read with ease.

Misreading Information Because Your Eyesight Sucks

I was supposed to go to yoga at 6:30pm today, I’s thought. I’d signed up on the ClassPass app two days ago. I’d double-checked 5 times. I was sure it was at 6:30pm.

So I Show up to YogaWorks at 6:20pm where they tell me their last class was at 6:00pm, not 6:30pm. I had read the time wrong. I had read the time wrong MORE THAN 5 TIMES. YogaWorks has “show up more than 15 mins late rule and you can’t go in to class rule “ (BS rule if you ask me), so I called my mom and asked her to turn around and pick me up please, because she had just dropped me off 2 minutes before.

The drive to my house from the yoga studio is only 5 minutes, and during that time my anger and frustration was rising like no amount of yoga could have calmed down. I was angry and sad and pissed and AND THERE WAS NO ONE TO BLAME.

I came straight here to write this all down to capture a bit of what the raw emotions I’m feeling. We don’t like to pity ourselves, we like to pretend we are humble, grateful, kinds of people, generally.

But right now I’m pissed because I feel like this would not have happened to someone with better vision. Someone with better vision could have driven themselves to the studio, would have seen that the class was at 6:00 (at least by the 5th time they had checked the fucking schedule), could work at any job without wondering if fucking font would be too small, could leave the house without a backpack full of gear + clothes + shoes (all in one fucking backpack), could read a guitar tuner pedal, COULD READ A DAMN BOOK, could send texts while holding their phone on their laps, could see which bus # was coming from 10 feet away. ETC ETCETC

But alas. I am not someone else.

so I’ll stop complaining. realize this is my life. there is no way to fool proof it. there is no loop hole.

I’m going to miss classes, I’m going to miss busses, I’m not going to be able to work at any cash register, I will never be able to drive.

In another post I’ll explore what I AM able to do.

For now, good riddance and good night.