Visually Impaired: Now What?

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What’s Wrong with Mary’s Eyes?

Editor's note: February is Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month. Mary Hiland has written about her experience as a teen finally finding out about her diagnosis and how she coped. Find out more about retinitis pigmentosa.

What's Wrong with My Eyes?

Mary Hiland

by Mary Hiland

As a little girl growing up in Cincinnati, I played with my friends in the neighborhood, riding our scooters, playing jacks, jumping rope, walking on homemade stilts, and roller-skating, but only on the sidewalks. I was sent to the corner store on my bike to buy a loaf of bread and was allowed to pick out some penny candy with the change. In other words, I was just like any other kid in my neighborhood and age group.


One day in the third grade, my teacher pulled me out of the classroom and told me to sit in one of the chairs in the hallway. I was alarmed. I hadn’t done anything wrong. She told me to read to another teacher who was standing in front of me. I was a good reader, but nothing special. Why was she pointing me out? "See how she holds the book over to her left? It looks like she is only using her left eye," my teacher said. "Let’s send her to the nurse and have her read an eye chart," the other teacher said. I had already experienced the eye chart, from previous routine exams, and by this time, I had that chart memorized. I began with a slight air of annoyance, "E, F, B, and the next row of letters as I remembered them." The nurse calmly told me that this was a chart of pictures, not letters, and the first picture was a sailboat. Busted.

The Start of a 10-Year Journey

For the next 10 years, my parents trotted me around from one doctor to another, trying to find the cause of my vision impairment. I had an EEG test, a test of my reflexes, an evaluation by a psychologist, and an excruciating round of pointless eye exercises three times a week. That was due to a diagnosis of "lazy eye" because my left eye tended to drift to the left. When I spoke to people, they thought I was looking at someone else, and it was not only exasperating to me but also embarrassing. My dad would drop me off for the exercises and pick me up an hour and a half later, but one day, he found me in the hallway, standing with my arms crossed and crying. I had walked out while the doctor wasn’t looking. It was probably the first time I showed my assertiveness and independence. I was 14. "This is stupid, and it’s not doing any good," I sobbed. And that was the end of that idea. I wore tinted glasses because one doctor told me that it was the glare that caused my eye problems. It was clear that all of these doctors were grasping at straws while grabbing my parents’ money. But my mom and dad just wanted to fix the problem.


Finally, when I was 18, the diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) made sense. This doctor explained to my parents and me what it meant and that there was no cure, and no glasses or exercises or psychiatric exams would cure it. The search was over. I was immensely relieved. Even though the prognosis was not what we wanted to hear, we knew now that the next step would be to learn how to live with what we then called legal blindness.


Saying that I was blind seemed too harsh, (we hadn’t yet learned the term partially sighted or visually impaired) so we went with legally blind. After all, I could still see quite a bit, especially when I think of my condition now, which is total blindness. My doctor said that I could wind up totally blind but not necessarily. It’s a progressive eye disease that shows up when at least one parent has a dominant gene or when both have a recessive gene. I can only imagine how my parents agonized, late at night, holding each other, and consoling each other, and saying that it didn’t matter. The real issue was to help me learn to live with partial sight.

Out with the Doctors, In with the Instructors

Because I have always been a practical person, (a true Capricorn and more accurately, a product of my practical parents,) I threw myself into learning braille and embraced talking books. I can still recall the joy I felt in listening to hours and hours of Gone with the Wind every Saturday morning until all four boxes of records had filled my imagination with one of the greatest books ever written. I was relieved to not have to tie up my mother’s time with reading to me just for pleasure because she already read all my textbooks to me after putting in a full day at work.

I was taught to use a white cane, which I hated and didn’t use until I was in my 30s, and I was strongly encouraged to attend college, even though that wasn’t in my own life plan. But as is often the case, an 18-year-old doesn’t always know what’s best for her future. College was difficult because back in 1963, there was no such thing as an office for students with disabilities. I had to send my textbooks away to get them recorded on tape, and they often didn’t get back to me until well after the quarter had started. I had to use a reel-to-reel portable tape recorder to take notes in class and then listen to the tapes at night and type them out in braille. I had to find my own way of getting tests read to me and to learn routes to my classroom buildings and classrooms on my own. I had embarrassing moments when I would bump into people because I didn’t "look blind" and refused to use the cane. Accepting my blindness was a very long time coming. I believe it would have been easier if I had been born in the next generation when tools for dealing with blindness made life much more manageable.

Managing Blindness

These days, living life as a totally blind person is not easy, but it’s not hard either. Consider all the tools I use on a daily basis—computer with speech software; iPhone with all kinds of apps to aid in reading, identifying objects, speech for reading text messages and e-mail messages; talking clocks; thermostats, thermometers, and microwaves; Alexa; and of course, my wonderful Seeing Eye® guide dog. With the diagnosis of blindness, whether partial or total, life is not over by any means. It’s just lived differently. And "different" does not mean "special" or "amazing" or "inspiring." If you have RP or any other eye condition that causes loss of vision, you do not have to be a "super-blind" person, like the ones you read about. You just need to educate yourself about what is realistic and what is not, and then set about living your life.

Learn More About Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa Blog Topics

Coping with Vision Loss by Dave Steele

Resources for More Information About Retinitis Pigmentosa

Low Vision
Personal Reflections

Finding Love as a Person with Vision Loss

Finding Love

By Kerry Kijewski

I came home from a wedding shower one June day in 2008 and decided I was sick of hiding and being alone/lonely, that I was ready to take a step toward finding love.

head shot of Kerry

Love hadn’t found me. It wasn’t as simple as making eye contact with a guy from across a crowded bar and him asking me for my phone number. For me, there was no possibility of that "whole eyes meeting from across the crowded room" phenomenon, not without enough sight to make such a thing happen on my end. So I started to think about how to make it happen.

"Upload pictures of yourself smiling and having fun! The psychology is if you are happy, you can make others happy," or so suggests online dating website Plenty of Fish, of which I’ve been a member (off and on) for the last 10 years now. What does that mean for a person who is blind or visually impaired?

Dating Strategies

Using the Phone

Fellow VisionAware peer Jeannie Johnson started before online dating, with the good old telephone.

"When I started trying to get dates with people I’d never met, it was on the phone. My first experience was with the Nashville Singles Line, inexpensive, but not free. There was another that was free. A few weeks ago, I was going to demonstrate the Nashville Singles Line to a single friend, only to find that it no longer exists." —Jeannie Johnson

Using the Internet

For me (Kerry), the Internet seemed my best bet. I felt guys were often too nervous to approach me, and I was shy and had little experience. If only I could use my writing ability to procure a controlled narrative about myself, showing that I was more than blind, that I liked movies and concerts and travel. Then, maybe then, someone might give me a chance.

Points to Consider in Using Online Dating Sites: Jeannie's Perspectives

By Jeannie Johnson

woman sitting in chair holding 2 dogs


To use online dating sites, online dating websites must be accessible for people with vision loss to be able to use them.

My first experience with online dating was with eHarmony, then $40, as I recall. The website was very blind-friendly, as I think I was able to access all the parts and fill in the fields using my screen reader. Its founder is Neil Clark Warren. He wrote a book on which the website’s parts are based, Date or Soul Mate: How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less, 2002, available from BookShare."

Disclosure of Vision Loss

Do we disclose our blindness immediately in the online dating profile? If we do, will that scare men off before they even get to know us? Should we be honest and upfront? Will most guys appreciate our forthcomingness?

I didn’t reveal immediately that I’m blind, but if there seemed to be interest between the other person and me, I did let him know before we actually met. A person I met through the Nashville Singles Line, with whom I had a relationship that lasted just over two years, later said he was glad I told him in advance, as it might have been a bit of a shocking surprise had he not known beforehand. Of course, then there were those who greeted the news with immediate rejection with statements like, "I’ve never met a blind person. I wouldn’t know how to act!" I quickly learned that most people who made such proclamations also chose to remain ignorant and not venture out of their comfort zone.

I would soon learn, this wasn’t a question with a simple, easy answer, that it’s different for everyone. I had to make a choice I could live with. So, I included that bit of information about me. I didn’t make it the first thing someone read when they came across my profile, but I didn’t act like it was a secret. I tried to be middle-of-the-road in this like I try to be in most things in life.

There. Decision made. That was done. I could write a profile, but how long to make it?

The questions kept on coming. Soon though, so did the messages.

Managing the Messages

Some were insulting and awful, but it felt comforting I was getting reactions I heard every other woman also received because I felt like I was just like everyone else. I liked being online because I could block and delete. I didn’t have to answer every message, not if it was rude or thoughtless. I felt like I had some kind of control, the kind I had none of in a noisy, busy, blurry bar.

It was still a visual concept, the fact that dating and online dating felt like a buffet of sorts, which are also difficult for people who are blind.

I found that everyone has preferences and qualities they are looking for. I wasn’t exempt from doing this; for some, it was physical attributes, for me it was a lack of grammar. I soon found my comfort with the right amount of messages, back and forth, before meeting in person.

Some seemed in a hurry, while I liked to learn a bit about them, but not so much that there would be little magic in a first face-to-face meeting.

While most people liked pictures, to see what they’d be getting, I liked to hear a voice over the phone. It gave me something to go by, and I could tell if attraction through voice was there or not.

I couldn’t fault some guy if my face wasn’t what they were looking for. Sure, we could meet, and he could change his mind after hearing my stories or my dry, witty sense of humor. But so could I meet him and fall for him, even if my initial attraction to the sound of his voice hadn’t been immediate. It was all a game of chance.

The Keyword: "Game"

Was that the keyword in all this, "game?"

It still felt like a lot of a physical attraction, with photos being the main point. That's how it worked for most people. I couldn’t get more than a worded description of some guy’s picture from a trusted source such as my older sister. I could sense, by her reaction, how the whole visual impression thing worked.

And so, I talked on the phone, met at a pub or something, and started dating. I could tell a guy’s openness to life if my blindness didn’t prevent him from at least meeting me for a drink and a conversation. I soon saw that there were all kinds of guys out there, even some that might like me for me.

The End Result of My Phone and Online Dating

Although none resulted in a long-term relationship, I felt that the guys I met through eHarmony were, overall, the best matches. I found Neil Clark Warren’s book particularly helpful, as the exercises forced me to examine myself and the qualities that I both wanted and would not accept in a potential mate.

I’m a list maker by nature, so I listed my "must haves," "prefers," and "unacceptables." I decided I wasn’t going to just settle for whoever came my way. I then tried to figure out if I knew anyone who fit my criteria, thinking that no man existed like that. Every time I thought about it, though, the name "Cary" kept coming to mind. We were friends, but I’d never thought of him as a dating prospect. A few years later, when we were both available, we finally did start dating and have now been happily married for almost nine years.

Couple kissing behind a paper pink heart

The irony is that I had always set my sights on guys who could see and drive. Although I wanted to be accepted in spite of being blind, I wasn’t willing to accept that in another person. Through knowing and dating Cary, I realized which traits I had listed were really important and which ones were not, as he, in fact, is visually impaired and doesn’t drive!

Dating Is Tricky: Kerry's Perspective

By Kerry Kijewski

Dating is tricky for us all, at some point, and it’s a risk you have to choose to take. Jeannie, for one, took the necessary risk and has found a love that’s right for her.

I know the stigma that was much more common, back when chat rooms were popular and the Internet was newer, but of which still exist now: If you are dating online, there must be something wrong with you. But I knew that if I was doing it, and I knew I was a person worth getting to know, that other people like me must be out there too.

My blindness is just one bit of the puzzle, one thing a person can choose to accept or not accept, just as I must if a guy who likes camping, when I hate it, is the right person for me to take a chance on.

Of course, some differences are bigger than others, and I still know, after being in a few relationships with people I first met online, that love is complicated and multi-layered.

February Means Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a time when love and romance are everywhere. Dating and relationships are made up of many things, but physical appearances are always going to play a part. That’s just something I’m learning to accept.

This year, on February 14th, I will be having lunch with a friend. Being single, before and after finding love and losing it, this is all part of what makes life and relationships so utterly fascinating.

I Haven't Given Up on Love

Are there more challenges with blindness as a companion made up of differing concerns? Yes.

Does this mean I’ve given up? Not a chance.

A white line on a red background extends to the right and curves into the shape of a heart. Inside the heart are the words - Cultivate love, for love is the light that gives the eye to see great and noble things. - Helen Keller

Yet, I have learned a lot about myself throughout the last 10 years of finding love online. It’s just one more way of finding a connection with another person. Just another way.

For now, I am focusing on myself and making the best life I possibly can. I can’t allow myself to get too hung up on the pictures I can’t see or the things I cannot control. Loving myself and my life is the part I can.

As I pass my fourth Valentine’s Day as a single woman, who is blind and who loves to play the violin and who is making my way as a writer, I haven’t given up on love.

I know love is always worth the risk, however it happens, and I’d sign up for that site all over again if I had to go back and do it all again today.

We could all stand to take more risks like this in life, especially for the chance at love.

Share your story in the comment section below.

Other Information About Dating

Dating and Sight loss ebook

Blind Dating in the Digital Age

Dating 101 for People with Vision Loss

Tips for Dating for People New to Vision Loss

Low Vision
Personal Reflections
Social Life and Recreation

Calendars for People with Vision Loss

by Neva Fairchild and Empish Thomas

It’s that time of year when we need a new calendar, resolve to get organized, and commit to keeping track of appointments independently.

If you have a visual impairment, this can be easier said than done. None of the calendars at the store have large enough numbers or letters, and there’s not enough room to write even if you buy a desk-size calendar, which of course you cannot take with you. If you use a black permanent marker so that you can read what you write, it bleeds through to the next page. The letters and numbers are gray instead of black, and the spaces are too small to write what you need to know. Eventually, you leave the stationary aisle frustrated with nothing that meets your needs. Now what?

Print Calendars

Picking the right large print calendar for your lifestyle is an essential first step. Is a large print monthly wall calendar that helps you keep track of the date and day of the week but has very little room to write what you are looking for? Perhaps, you need room to write an occasional appointment down but usually no more than one per day. An 8.5-inch by 11-inch weekly calendar and a bold line pen that does not bleed through might work best. If you’re a busy person, you may want room to schedule several appointments at specific times each day, so you will need a large print daily appointment calendar.

person writing on large print desk calendar

The font size and ink color will vary by manufacturer and style, so verify when you decide on a calendar that you can easily read the letters and numbers with or without a magnification device. The type of binder may also affect your decision. A thick notebook versus a honeycomb or spiral binding or a paper versus a plastic cover may sway your decision.

Taking your calendar with you when you leave home may not be possible if the size or style that works best for you isn’t portable. You may want to keep a digital recorder with you in order to record appointments you set when you are away from home so that you can write them down later.

Companies that specialize in products for people who are visually impaired offer large print calendars in a variety of sizes and formats. Reviewing options found through specialty product providers will help you find the perfect calendar for your busy life.

Electronic Calendars

If you have access to a computer or a smartphone, you may prefer to use an electronic calendar. With screen enlargement or screen reading technology, the issue of reading the words and numbers on a print calendar is eliminated. There is a calendar option in Microsoft Outlook that is excellent for scheduling appointments with contacts in your address book, or you can create your own calendar in Microsoft Excel or Word. However, if you want to keep your calendar with you and have a desktop computer, your solution only works when you are at home or work, wherever your computer lives. You may still need a print calendar that duplicates your electronic calendar. You can print the calendar from your computer and read it with a portable video magnifier, or you may need a large print calendar that you can see to write with a bold pen so that it is readable without a low vision aid.

Woman using an iPhone with earbuds connected.

Using a smartphone to keep your calendar eliminates the need for printing or handwriting and can synchronize with your computer so that you have access to your calendar wherever you are. You can use calendar apps on your smartphone. The VO Calendar is a accessible one for iPhone users because it works well with VoiceOver command. If you have resisted or postponed learning to use a smartphone, this just might be the right time to change your mind.

Braille Calendars

Even with great advancements in modern technology, let’s not forget the braille calendar. These simple calendars can come in sizes you can hang on your wall or smaller sizes. Although you won’t be able to jot notes or appointments on them, braille calendars are handy to quickly check for dates when scheduling appointments. Some braille calendars will also list holidays for easy reference.

How do you keep track of your appointments? Please comment below.

Additional Resources

Helpful Products and Technology for Living with Vision Loss

Overview of Low Vision Devices

Reading, Writing, and Vision Loss

Using Large Print

Office Space Modifications

Helpful Products
Home modification
Low Vision
Personal Reflections

Two Blind Cooks in My Kitchen!

"Food is the true universal language that breaks down barriers and brings us all together—no matter who, where, or what we are." — Penny Melville-Brown, Blind Baker and Holman Prize winner

When I read a message on the VisionAware message board several months ago, I knew I had to reply. It was an announcement by a woman from England who had been selected as one of three Holman Prize winners, and she was coming to cook in my home city in Australia as part of her prize-winning "Baking Blind Tour."

Setting Off on a Blind Ambition

When Penny was informed of a particular prize being offered to people with a visual disability, she decided to pitch her vision of the possible. The Lighthouse Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired set a challenge in 2017 with a new initiative as an annual set of awards called the Holman Prize. The aim is to fund three blind or visually impaired individuals from anywhere in the world to pursue their most ambitious projects. "The Holman Prize is specifically for legally blind individuals with a penchant for exploration of all types. The spirit of the Holman Prize is to give someone a chance to do something they never would have been able to do otherwise," according to the Lighthouse Foundation.

One of Three Winners

The judges of the Holman prize selected three entrants all with "ambitious dreams," and awarded the inaugural prize to Ahmet Ustunel, who wants to kayak Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait solo; Ojok Simon, who wants to teach his fellow Ugandans how to become self-sustaining beekeepers; and Penny Melville-Brown, who will tour with her YouTube baking show to six continents in the next 12 months.

The Lighthouse wrote, "Penny will travel to Costa Rica, Malawi, Australia, China, and the United States, all over the course of a year. Along the way, she will meet chefs, teach blind people and community leaders the techniques and panache of blind baking, and film these encounters to ensure that people change their assumptions about the capabilities of blind chefs."

Reaching Out

As I’ve learned to be visually impaired, I have developed other skills, including a measure of resourcefulness. I wanted to reach out to Penny and invite her to cook with me as I felt we had so much in common. I found her "Baking Blind" website and took a positive leap across the World Wide Web. Within 24 hours, Penny and I were sending enthusiastic e-mails back and forth and connecting on many creative levels. Penny instantly accepted my offer to cook in my home kitchen and tour plans went into gear.

Maribel and Penny Melville-Brown standing together outside each wearing red clothing, image from Toby Melville

Making it Work Together

The plan was to demonstrate a dish of some kind. I chose a family favorite, "Spanish Eggs a la Flamenca," and Penny was thrilled. She had five days set aside for the Melbourne leg of her baking tour and needed to find a few more keen cooks to create culinary delights for a global audience as she planned to "vlog" each cooking demonstration later on her Youtube channel, A Taste of the World.

We were both amazed by the quick response we received when I reached out to a hub of local sighted chefs who were keen to work with Penny in their professional kitchens. She also had a cooking demonstration lined up with the young recruits from the HMAS Cerberus (a branch of the Royal Australian Navy).

The day arrived, and I was to meet Penny in person. It was an incredible feeling—having forged a friendship through our e-mail correspondence to share our passion for cooking and how to make it all work on the day. I had prepared the kitchen space to allow for filming by removing the clutter on the bench tops. I placed a vase of flowers to be casually in the background for the video and pre-cut the ingredients to save us time.

When Penny arrived in a cab, I raced to the front of my house to greet her and her sighted companions. Toby, her nephew, would be filming the entire day, and her partner, Alan, was on the tour to lend a hand. I squealed with delight as Penny and I exchanged a hug, and then I noticed we were both on the same "pastry sheet," as both of us had chosen to wear red!

Roll the Camera

After Penny had a feel around my kitchen and we had discussed how filming would be done, we spent the next couple of hours enjoying the space together, sharing a conversation about being blind, the tour so far, cooking family favorites, and the multi-culinary scene in Melbourne. We even had time to visit a spice shop later after the filming. I had a bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion, and it was a fun challenge to find each other’s glass as neither of us could see and to elegantly toast to the project on camera.

Maribel and Penny Melville-Brown cooking together in Maribel's kitchen, image from Toby Melville

After chopping, chatting, and cooking, we enjoyed the dish we had prepared together with our sighted crew. In a relaxed mode, I hadn’t noticed my partner bring out his ukulele and before I knew it, we were singing an improvised song to give Toby, the cameraman, a tune for the video clip.

But the biggest surprise of all was when Penny presented me with a special honor. She placed a handmade pewter medallion she had personally made back home in the UK that was attached to a long red ribbon. I felt like an athlete who had just won a gold medal. Penny had brought along a "Baking Blind" medal to give to each chef she cooked with on the tour as her token of thanks for supporting the project.

It is a day I will treasure, and I embrace Penny’s sentiments as she says, "When we have the same enthusiasms, whether it’s food, work, music, sport, or anything else, we can come together as equals. If we can manage to cook like everyone else, there’s no limit to what else we can do too."

Holman Prize 2018 Is Now Open!

If you are 18 years of age or over and have a visual disability, you can pitch YOUR grand ambition too. The Holman Prize is now open for submissions for 2018. If you think you are a person who is willing to probe your environment, challenge stereotypes, and bring your unique passion to make a difference in the lives of others, you may be just the right candidate for this year’s prize.

All the details and an FAQ page along with advice on how to create a 90-second video pitch, guidelines, and application form is all waiting for you on the Lighthouse website.

Good Luck Everyone!

Transcript and Description for Video of "Baking Blind"


Watch the video!

There is guitar music playing in the background. Text on screen written in green. First screen with picture of an apron: "Baking Blind by Penny Melville-Brown." Second screen: "Holman Prize 2017 Awarded by San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired."


Penny: Hello. I’m Penny Melville-Brown from Baking Blind. I’ve had a great week here in Melbourne exploring the diversity of people and their cooking styles. Cooking last week with Fred, I learned just a little about the indigenous aboriginal culture.

Fred: This you can put in the sage there and grind them there.

Penny: But this week has given me more insight into the aboriginal diversity here in Australia. There’s some pretty uncomfortable history about the treatment of the indigenous people here. They weren’t legally people until 1967. Staggeringly, they were categorized as flora and fauna.

The lost generation of aboriginal children removed from their families has broken cultural ties, which means it can be very difficult for them to make claims to their historic land. Much of their history has never been written because their artifacts, their spoken chronicles, and their way of life has been lost. But Australia is trying to rebuild its reputation for humanity, equality, and diversity. There’s much public concern about the refugees being detained on distant islands. And people are saying yes to legalizing to same-sex marriages.

Cuisines, cultures, and communities represent people here in Melbourne from all over the world. A typical example of real integration is this long established Greek restaurant. It’s owned by a Turk and run by a Hungarian. So it’s no wonder that Euro Bites tracks an equally diverse clientele.

And we met the diversity of young men and women serving in the Australian Defense Forces.

(Description: applause from video)

I spent a morning at the college that is training all the young catering and hospitality specialists. I met many people who are proud of their international background and still hold on to the food and the traditions their families brought from their original countries.

Maribel, who is also blind, has actually written a book for her children about their Spanish legacy. Cooking does so much to enrich lives. So Charlene, with a background from Malta, was cooking us this amazing Italian dish but also studying French cooking. And Danny with whom I made bread is hugely enthusiastic about the fermented food that she’s learned from migrants.

Danny: Some of what people found most important to them is obviously their food and their culture that they carry with them in that way. And for a lot of these people, it’s traditional for them to do these fermented products. And for some of them, they’ve been fermenting things almost in hiding because they weren’t supposed to be. They were doing it under sinks or under beds because that’s just really kind of who they were.

Penny: Amazingly entrepreneurial pastry chef, Dre, has actively sought a multinational, multi-ability team, reinforces her whole concept of a family of professional cooks that work together to make the very best food.

Dre: Just the different array of people such a richness, of course, to what we do.

Penny: She is rewarded with a growing following of customers drawn from all over the world. So perhaps cooks and chefs are some of the best champions of diversity. Everyday, we draw on ingredients from all over the world which are really easy to find in Australia because of its multiplicity of climates.

Melbourne with more cafes and restaurants per head than anywhere else in the world is the clear winner. Celebrating international people and food in this gastronomic city is a great sort of economic strength, employment, and enjoyment—that triple prize.

(Description: People cheering)

Perhaps the answer to equality and diversity is for chefs and cooks to rule the world. And then everything is going to be all right.

Harry and Maribel: Don’t you worry about a thing. Cause every little thing is going to be all right. Don’t you worry about a thing, cause everything is gonna be all right. Cause everything is gonna be all right. Cause every little, every little, every little thing is gonna be all right.

Cooking with Confidence
Home modification
Low Vision
Personal Reflections
Social Life and Recreation

“Good Health to You": Blind Alive, Eyes Free Fitness

Editor's note: January is always a time for New Year's resolutions, and maintaining a healthy life style should be at the top of your list! Read what Peer Advisor Lenore Dillon has to say about "Eyes Free Fitness."

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle Can Be Challenging

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging for anyone, especially for individuals who have vision loss. Physical exercise seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle when we embark upon a fitness program. Many people lack the confidence to start exercising, as it is difficult to emulate the instructor.

Find Out What Mel Scott Is Doing to Promote Good Health

Woman with yellow lab guide dog, sitting outside on the grass

Mel Scott, Founder and President of Blind Alive, Eyes Free Fitness is providing the missing piece of the health and wellness puzzle. Mel, who has been blind since childhood, launched Blind Alive, Eyes Free Fitness four years ago. This new venture took shape while she recovered from a dual mastectomy. Prior to the diagnosis of cancer, Mel was a successful massage therapist. One day, as Mel was riding her stationary bicycle, the only form of exercise available to her at that time, she realized there were no home exercise programs tailored for people with vision loss. It was on that bicycle Mel decided if such a program were to exist, she would have to create it.

After her initial idea, she realized she needed new communication and marketing skills as well as a committed group of support staff. Today, four years after that frustrating stationary bicycle ride, she has a growing business. A wide range of workouts is available via digital download on CD and on thumb drive. Bi-monthly podcasts are popular, and the "Blind Alive" app is available in the app store. Detailed information can be obtained on the Blind Alive Website.

Information Available On the Blind Alive Website

A woman doing yoga outside

Several series of exercise workouts are available for purchase at a reasonable price. Each workout provides a step-by-step verbal description, and the movements are easy to perform. Encouragement and support are provided every step of the way.

The bi-monthly podcasts contain a treasure trove of information and resources. In addition to interviews on timely topics related to health and fitness, there are book and product reviews as well as tasty recipes.

Mel strives to make it possible for those of us with vision loss to be healthy and to be the best we can be. Mel often uses the aphorism "good health to you," as she wishes everyone to be healthy and successful.

More Articles About Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

How I Created My Workout Game Plan

Make Physical Activity and Fitness a Way of Life

Sports and Exercise for People with Vision Loss

Exploring Ways to Stay Fit in Retirement

Low Vision
Social Life and Recreation

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