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What do you know about helping the blind?

Zehlua

Magepunk Fashionisto
My best friend D is a furry, and we've known each other since we were 6 years old. We've been having fun in the fandom together for as long as we can remember, even if the fandom just included us and our friends from school.

D's eyes are running out of time. In a few years, his retinas are going to detach, leaving him without sight.

I've been doing as much research as I can to help him. Losing his eyesight is really stressing him out, especially because he does art commissions and loves to draw. He's understandably really scared about this.

If you guys know any way I can help my best friend, PLEASE let me know!

Edit: D and I live on opposite ends of the US right now, and the goal is to move him into a rental house or apartment in my town (better job opportunities here)
 
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DergenTheDragon

The cutest derg
Learn to write and READ and Braille, learn what all of the raised markings on the sidewalks mean (They are there for blind and partially sighted people), are they going completely blind or just partially sighted?

As someone who can only see out of one eye at a time, I'm speaking from experience here
 

DergenTheDragon

The cutest derg
Also im really sorry about your friend, I was in a similar position with my own eyesight many years ago when I was very young. They managed to save my eyesight but now my brain can only receive signals from one of my eyes at a time. Meaning I see the entire world in 2D
 

Zehlua

Magepunk Fashionisto
Learn to write and READ and Braille, learn what all of the raised markings on the sidewalks mean (They are there for blind and partially sighted people), are they going completely blind or just partially sighted?

As someone who can only see out of one eye at a time, I'm speaking from experience here
Right now he says he's in the process of going blind, but once his retinas detach, he'll be 100% blind
 

Guifrog

Blue Frog | Avatar by Lenago
The retina in my right eye was slowly detaching during my younger years for some reason even my eye doctor couldn't really tell, as I'd mentioned I can't recall ever having suffered some kind of strong physical impact on it, and never had diabetes (which she would appoint as main possible causes). I'm thankful for my father as he could afford a laser procedure at that time, which is somewhat uncomfortable but safe and quick. Costed us R$600,00 or so at that time IIRC (that's about US$107,00 nowadays, but then again different times, countries, cost of living and systems)

Not sure what your friend's financial situation is right now, or how the health care works over there, and I don't know details of his condition. Any idea what his doctor recommended? Perhaps a crowdfunding campaign could provide with a little help, and maybe complementing that with beer-money sites, like Microworkers?

Wish I was able to help more!
 

DergenTheDragon

The cutest derg
So for now Braille is not really your priority, you need to learn the subtle things, like're raised marking on sidewalks, the direction and type of marking will alert your friend to hard to see dangers for partially sighted persons. Like crosswalks and cycle paths.
 

Kinare

RAWR
I don't know about the physical concerns so much as the mental ones. Someone on another forum asked a long time ago which you'd rather lose, sight or hearing, and for some reason I think about that a lot. I chose losing sight, because music is super important to me. Sure, I'd lose my main hobby: video games. I would still be able to listen to people play them, listen to audio books, podcasts, and of course still enjoy music. To lose being able to hear those things... ugh... To lose being able to hear voices, my cats purr, the rain, anything...

So my thought here is try to help him focus on the things he gets to keep and new things he could experience that he may not try otherwise. He may enjoy some of the same things I listed and he may discover something new that he really loves. Technically, he could still do art, he just wouldn't be able to see what he draws, he would have to feel it out. If he's a digital only artist right now, he would probably have to switch to traditional for this, but he could get a canvas or art pad and just draw or paint for his own enjoyment. Paint would be easier than pen or pencil for him to feel the different textures and kinda piece together what the end product was. There are other mediums too that may be easier for a blind person, he could try a bunch of different kinds and see what works.

The mental game is going to be very important here, depression is an awful thing.
 

rekcerW

Well-Known Member
If he loves drawing and is trying not to lose it, fuck. That's terrible. People can still create art without seeing, you should help him find out how to still create in some fashion.
 

quoting_mungo

Well-Known Member
This is just the first thing Google spat at me when I searched for “blind artists,” so there should be more where that came from.

 

Mikazuki Marazhu

I hate you all
If the condition is incurable, I say do the most out of the time he has.

Travel to breathtaking sceneries/meet families or friends, while helping his stages of grief more bearable.

In terms of financial concerns, I'm sure there are some assistance provided by the government may it be in a form of disability check or job opportunities. (Though the idea of working in non-creative work might haunt him)
 

Attaman

"I say we forget this business and run."
With a father that's legally white-cane blind, and since you specify US residency: One big tip I can give (that doctors / optometrists hopefully have already brought up) is to do your homework / research on Federal and Local / State disability programs (such as supplemental security incomes). These programs tend to be much more forgiving and lenient towards blindness than other disabilities, as well as offer access to a fair deal of resources and convenient reference.

Since you mention moving, you're also likely going to want to try to pick a location that... not necessarily he can handle everything he needs to on his own (poor weather still happens, and there's no guarantee he'll remain comfortable with as much), but at the very least offers somewhat convenient access to the necessities (easy access to grocery drop-off, local eye specialists to make sure nothing else is going on).

However, if it's not improper to ask: Is the condition inoperable, or "The cost of the procedure is beyond their reach / accessibility"? Because if the latter I'd first look into seeing if there's any way to provide such access, and if not to prolong how long he'll have before the severity gets particularly bad (Total detachment can eventually lead to total blindness, but short-term effects tend to be far less severe). Anything that gets more (and better quality) use out of his time should be looked into on top of resources for when symptoms worsen.

One last thing I can suggest is, if they don't have a particular attachment to art types so long as they're creating it for somebody, to look into alternate artwork methods / mediums that don't rely quite as heavily on vision. Pottery, for example, or textured paint. It takes time and patience to pick up such new practices, but... well, look up John Bramblitt for an idea of where mastery of the latter can take somebody.
 

KD142000

Leather-clad Lobo
How does one go about learning braille?
Braille is easiest to teach to someone who can hear. I would guess it involves going to a specialist who has a board of braille lettering (if it's referred to as lettering).

A guide dog is a good idea if they're not allergic and like animals. Not only do they help guide the person, they're also loving companions. An alternative would be guiding them yourself whenever you can. A carer is a good option, too.

Braille can be found in lots of places. I recommend getting him a keypad mobile phone or landline (the ones with actual buttons), as those have a braille dot where the 5 is, usually. I think it's also on elevator buttons and remote controls as standard. If they use public transport, check the buttons inside the vehicle for Braille. They're on buttons to stop buses in the UK, amongst other things.

Also the edges of coins. Helping him to recognise coins by weight or how they feel when touched will be a good starting point.

Sounds unorthodox but perhaps asking them to go around the room whilst blindfolded or with their eyes shut might help prepare them? Not sure if that would help.

Also, do remember not to change the layout of the apartment without telling them or showing them where the new obstruction is. Learning the layout of their local area, perhaps by individual steps might also help.

Good advice from others here. There's just my limited advice.
 
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