"What Do Blind People See?"
When you read this post remember that it applies to my own experience and that people with Stargardt’s or other visual impairments are very unique. Stargardt’s can progress at different rates in different people and what I see may be different from another ‘Star’. What we all have in common is a decrease in central vision.
It’s actually hard to describe what I see without rambling. Here’s my best shot at it!
It’s like looking through a donut held away from you at an arm’s length. The donut part is the portion of my vision that is “blind” or completely missing. In ideal lighting, I can see through the center of the donut but it is blurry and wavy (as if it was written on a hill). Here is a picture of what the middle of the donut almost looks like for me. You can download the app I used and play with it (VISION SIM). Just select “Age-Related Macular Degeneration” and then select “Launch Simulator”. Try reading your favorite book. Remember to look through the red circle at all times. In real life you cannot look around your central vision, but you can use your peripherals to help you. I cannot read at all with one eye covered; I depend on both of them!
This part is actually pretty awesome (sometimes)…
I’ve learned that blindness is not blackness. When a person loses vision, her brain will try to fill in for what her eyes do not see. The blind portion of my sight (the donut which would be surrounding the red circle in the picture above) looks like a bright blue-green color! That’s all it is. Just a bright color that tries to blend in with whatever my brain thinks it should be seeing. Sometimes the blue blind spot sort of sparkles and flashes. It follows me wherever I look, even when I close my eyes.