Blog Posts by Steph McCoy

Alzheimer’s, Vision Loss, and Caregiving

Editor's note: November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Stephanie McCoy, VisionAware Peer Advisor, relates her family's battle with the disease and her journey in becoming a caregiver as a person who is visually impaired. The Long Road to Diagnosis Twenty years ago Alzheimer’s took my grandmother. And now my mother has been diagnosed with it. Though the contrast of how the disease manifested itself between my grandmother and mother was significant, after consulting with my mother’s physicians, it seems that 13 years ago, the clock began ticking for my mother. While my grandmother lived with the most severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s for


Wardrobe Combos: Time-Saving Tips for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

Getting the Jump on the Morning Routine You’re probably aware of the saying: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I can think of many areas in life where this saying could be applicable, but none more than the daily morning routine. You know the one where you’ve just overslept and you jump up in automatic panic mode wondering how in the world you’re going to be able to get yourself together in time to get to work. This issue is irritating to just about anyone but if you are blind or visually impaired it’s especially annoying. If the above scenario has happened to you, take heart and know that you are not


Living with Glaucoma

Editor's note: In honor of World Glaucoma Week, Steph McCoy has written this post about her experience with glaucoma. By Steph McCoy, VisionAware Peer Advisor My first exposure to glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness, was becoming aware of my grandmother using eyedrops everyday. When I questioned her as to why she had to use eye medication she explained that she had this eye disease called glaucoma and using the eye drops would prevent her from going blind. As a young child to hear the word "blind"


How Can I Be Fashionable in the New Year If I Am a Blind or Visually Impaired Woman?

Fashion versus Style? To answer this question we need to understand fashion. Fashion unlike style is ever-changing and dependent on current trends. A trend that looks nice on one person may not necessarily agree with someone else. Style on the other hand, like art, is a form of self-expression and communication which encompasses the whole person. An extension of oneself, style begins on the inside with our personality, lifestyle, values, likes, dislikes, mannerisms and it permeates all areas of our life. Since fashion and cosmetics are multi-billion dollar industries, the process of finding professionals to tailor a personalized style program for you can be relatively


The Checkered Eye Project

Steph McCoy's Introduction: "You don’t look blind…" is a comment many of us who have the hidden disability of low vision hear. The physical aspect of no longer being able to see is only one of many issues to deal with. A decline of self-confidence, navigating the stages of grief along with learning to adapt to a new way of life after vision loss can take its toll. One of the tools that helped me through this challenging process was a discreet self-identification pin that afforded me the opportunity, if I so choose, to share my low vision. When I contacted Libby Thaw, Founder of the Checkered Eye Project (CEP) back in 2009 after being diagnosed


My Pressure Story: Sight That Is Lost Is True Hindsight

I'm not talking about diastolic or systolic pressure, as in hypertension or high blood pressure; instead, I'm talking about eye pressure, as in glaucoma – a silent, sight-robbing thief. I shouldn't have been surprised when my retina specialist finally diagnosed me with primary open-angle glaucoma. After all, my maternal grandmother had the same condition and was on eye drops for as long as I can remember. The fact that glaucoma is


You Don’t Know What You Can’t See When You Can’t See It

There's Nothing More That Can Be Done The news was devastating. "Ms. McCoy," the doctor said, "I'm so sorry to tell you there is nothing more we can do for you." Those simple words confirmed my worst fears. I am now legally blind. I was numb and my heart was beating so violently I had a difficult time focusing on the doctor's next words. After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor continued, "Ms. McCoy, you have lived with myopia all your life and you have done everything you should do by regularly visiting the eye doctor but you have reached the point where


ADA: The Path to Inclusion

Passion, dedication, empathy, and education, the hallmarks of advocacy, are traits that can prompt a seemingly ordinary person to perform extraordinary feats. One such achievement was the enactment of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) which in reality began many years prior to its implementation on July 26, 1990. The road to the ADA was long, bumpy and full of obstacles, from 1817, with the founding of the American School for the Deaf (the first school for disabled children in the western hemisphere), to 1986 when the outcome of a report,


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