What do people do when they don’t know the answer to a question these days?
They ask Google.
My Google Search Terms:
- Blind people.
- Questions about blindness.
Some of the asks within the top ten returned results, under the ‘people also ask’ heading of these searches weren’t different questions, merely rephrased ones. Between the two searches, I managed to find some of the top googled questions about blind people, and I’m here to answer them, because as you all know, I am a blind person, and I love to talk. So, let’s do this!
Answering Ten Of Google’s Most Searched Questions About Blind People
In order of how they were found.
1. Do blind people see black?
It’s a very common misconception that individuals who are considered totally blind see only blackness. Some do, but that’s rarer than you might think. The spectrum of visual impairment is huge. You can be considered legally blind and still be able to read print and navigate with no assistance whatsoever, or you can be legally blind without being able to see anything much at all. Most blind people do have some residual sight, be it the ability to see mere light and dark, shades and shadows of things, contrasts and indistinct shapes, etc.
So, the short answer is no. Not all blind people see black. Some do, some see whiteness or a world of fog, but many who consider themselves totally blind are not, in fact, living in darkness.
2. Do blind people dream?
The ability to dream doesn’t come from the eyes, my Treasures. Dreams happen in the mind, and an inability to see does not remove the ability to dream. Some people are more prone to dreams than others; I myself don’t do it often. Or, well… I did read a study once that claimed we all dream at least nine dreams a night, even if we can’t recall them. I’m not certain if that’s true, though it seems logical to me, so I’ll say that it’s rare I remember my dreams, but I suppose I might still have them.
Not only can blind people dream, but some of us do dream in visuals, not merely sound and touch. I’m not sure how common this is, but I find it logical that if someone once possessed the ability to see detail, even if that detail was never 20/20 detail, it might return to them in dreams. In dreams, the mind reigns, and I believe it taps into memories we might not even draw upon while awake.
3. Why do blind people’s eyes move so much?
This condition is called nystagmus, and while it’s common in many blind individuals, it’s not a trait we all share. I’m not going to sit here and pretend to be an ophthalmologist, but from what I understand, it’s more common in blind individuals with degenerative retinal eye conditions like LCA, the condition I possess.
Nystagmus can be caused by many factors, but in the case of most blind individuals, it’s caused by an inability to fixate our vision from an early age. I liken it to a web browser when it’s stuck loading a page. I think there’s an hourglass on the screen that just goes round and round and round. It keeps moving because it can’t find the page. It’s got nothing to lock onto. That’s how my vision is, and my eyes tend to dance more when I’m trying, and failing, to fixate on something.
If a vision expert reads this and wants to correct me because you’re like, ‘oh my god this woman is so far down Wrong Answer Lane it’s scary’, please feel free to set me straight. I don’t want to give away misinformation. Nystagmus has been such an integral part of who I am, like my hair color, that I’ve never thought much about the why of it before.
4. Can a blind person live on their own?
Absolutely. I do. Most of my blind friends do. There are so many devices, applications and services out there now that living alone as a blind person isn’t a hardship. I’ll do a blog post / podcast episode / Youtube video on some of these if you’d like to read / listen / see that.
Even blind people who have no applications, no assistive devices and no paid services can live on their own. We learn to adapt. We invent our systems when the mainstream offerings don’t fit our lifestyles / personalities / budgets. We’ve got this!
5. Can a blind person cry?
Yes. Most of us do still have tear ducts, so shedding tears is very much possible. Now, if someone has gone blind due to eye removal, then no, I don’t think they have the ability to shed tears because their tear ducts are gone.
I want to decipher between crying and shedding tears. If you lose your eyes, while you might not be able to shed tears, I believe that crying is more than that. When I cry, it isn’t all in the eyes. My eyes shed tears, my face scrunches up, my chest heaves. I don’t believe the absence of tear ducts removes the ability to cry. It just removes the ability to shed tears. To many, these two things are synonymous, but I don’t subscribe to that belief. I believe that if you have so much emotion, whether you cry tears or not, letting that emotion out through the act of weeping is a release. It’s the emotion, it’s the sound, it’s the trembling of the shoulders, the heaving of the chest. I don’t believe loss of tear ducts strips a person of the urge to weep.
I do cry tears. If you read this and you haven’t any tear ducts, and I’ve gotten it all wrong, please let me know in the comments below. I can only speak to my own experiences and opinions.
6. Can a blind person work?
Society would have you believe otherwise, but yes, we can work. Around 75 percent of the blind community is unemployed, not because we are incompetent, but because employers are not educated on blindness and believe that because we lack sight, we lack competence. It’s a staggering statistic, and it needs to change. I’ve been rejected from even interviewing many times over the past few months due to my blindness. It’s easier for sighted employers to hire a sighted employee. It doesn’t require any extra time, effort or accommodation, and most employers prefer that.
Blind people can work. There are blind customer service representatives, blind lawyers, blind musicians, blind woodworkers, blind radio hosts, blind mechanics, etc. If you’re willing to find a way to pursue your dream and you persevere, you might just find someone who will give you a chance.
A lot of blind individuals run their own businesses because of the rampant discrimination within society today. I do. I have this speaking business I’m attempting to build, and I also have an Avon business I run on the side. (Yes, this is a shameless self plug! Hahaha!) You can check it out at SirenasAvonEmporium.com if you’d like, and if you find anything you want, enter coupon code ‘welcome10’ at checkout for ten percent off!
All right, shameless plug over. Haha. Honestly, Treasures, many of us have no choice but to go this route, not because we’re incompetent, but because employers are unwilling to be inclusive.
I apologize if that answer felt rather negative. This is a huge sore spot for me right now, though it’s also one of the main reasons why I decided to become a motivational speaker. I didn’t want to just sit around and complain. I wanted to take active steps to eradicate the ignorance society is prone to, most of the time through no fault of their own. It’s still difficult to handle, however. It’s insulting. It’s discouraging. It’s hurtful when all you ever face in the adult world of work is rejection.
7. How do you walk with a blind person?
The short answer is, it depends. If a route is familiar to both sightie and blindie, then the blind person can just walk beside the sighted individual using their cane or dog guide. If the environment being navigated is unfamiliar to the blind person, loud, crowded, open plan, etc., we use a little technique called sighted guide.
I’ll link you over to my heart sister’s blog, because she describes the process far better than I ever could, and because she’s awesome. You should totally subscribe to her. She has a lot of important things to say.
8. How do blind people use phones?
I’ll do a podcast and a youtube video on this process one day, but most blind people I know have iPhones. Apple’s built in accessibility is beloved by the blind community. Oh, sure, as a huge company, Apple has its flaws. Its products are hideously expensive and unless blindies have an incredible job, agency assistance or a generous family member, chances of us being able to pay for them in anything but small monthly installments are slim to none.
Still, their screen reader, Voiceover, is fantastic. A blind individual can walk into a store, pick up an Apple product, turn on Voiceover with a few clicks of a button or by asking Siri to do it, and play around with it. We can test the devices just like sighted people. We can purchase one, go home, open the box and set up that device independently, and that kind of freedom is huge.
For the sake of inclusion, I will say that Android has Talkback, and I do know many blind people who use Android phones as well, but I’ve not found Android-based products to be easy. They frustrate me more often than not, but in Android’s defense, it is possible I’ve not used devices that have been optimized for Talkback. To my knowledge, some Android phones and tablets are better with Talkback than others.
I know some Windows phones have software one can purchase and install. Its possible Windows has its own built in accessibility at this point, but I can’t speak to that with any degree of reliability. I don’t know a single person who owns let alone uses a Windows phone. For the blind community, Apple and Android phones are the two most popular.
9. Do people who are blind blink?
Blinking isn’t a conscious choice, my Treasures. To my knowledge, blinking is instinctive because it keeps your eyes both moist and free of harmful or just plain annoying particles. If you’re still a bit skeptical, I charge you to enter a pitch-black room and stare into the darkness. Keep your eyes open. Not wide open, just normally open, and try not to blink. Eventually, you will; it’s nok a thing that is under our control in the end, rather like swallowing.
10. Why do the blind wear dark glasses?
This is another common misconception. Some blind people do wear dark glasses in overly bright situations. I’m one of them. If the sun is beating down relentlessly and I need to walk somewhere, I’ll pop on my sunglasses because my eyes are extremely light sensitive. Without them, I can’t open my eyes in overly bright areas because it’s physically painful to bear the light.
Those of us who wear shades in bright situations don’t generally wear them everywhere. We’re much like sighted people in that way. Sighted people might don their favorite pair of sunglasses when it’s bright out and remove them when they exit out of the sun. I do that, and I know a lot of other blind people who do.
Some blindies do choose to wear glasses day in and day out. I’ve only ever met one person who did this, and she did so because she was self-conscious about the appearance of her eyes after surgery. It is definitely not the norm, and it is far less common than otherwise.
That’s it for questions! I hope this was informative, and if you’d like me to do another People Also Ask post, please let me know in the comments below! And remember, if you have any questions or requests for future posts / podcasts / videos, please feel free to do so either by using this site’s contact form, by sending me an email at SirenaRayLind@gmail.com, or by mentioning me on Twitter with the hashtag #TalkAboutItRena.
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In Other News
I’ve just become a blogger on Success Inspires World and I’m super excited about it. I’ve found so many amazing blogs through that one and I’m honored to be able to join their authors. You should definitely check them out and subscribe; there is something for everyone on that site.
Until next time, my Treasures, I bid you a fond adieu.