There are several beliefs about blindness and blind people that simply aren’t true. And they seem to be derived mainly from an unfamiliarity with the way blindness works. For example, many people seem to think that to experience blindness, all you need to do is close your eyes.
Mike Mulligan (@blindonthemove) is an orientation and mobility specialist, and he’s raising awareness and debunking myths about the blind and visually impaired community on TikTok.
In a viral video that has received 21 million views, Mike demonstrates what people with varying visual impairments might see through different simulation glasses.
A big misconception that many people have about blindness is that blind individuals see nothing but pitch blackness. However, that is not the case for most blind people.
“Blindness is a spectrum and not all or nothing! Only a small percentage of people who are blind see nothing at all. Many still have some remaining vision, and everyone’s experience is unique and varies greatly,” Mike wrote in the caption of his video.
First, Mike illustrates what the vision of individuals with glaucoma might look like. Glaucoma is an eye disease affecting over three million Americans.
It causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to vision loss and blindness. It usually affects a person’s peripheral vision but can also affect central vision, depending on the person.
Next up is cataracts, which currently affect 25 million Americans. It is very common in older individuals. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of Americans above the age of 80 have cataracts or have had surgery to get rid of them.
Cataracts cause blurry, hazy vision. Having cataracts is often likened to looking through a foggy window. The more severe the cataract, the blurrier the vision.