“I was born with congenital glaucoma in South America. Before I was three years old, I had 8 operations to save my eyesight. The best that the doctors were able to do was restore partial vision of 20/40 with corrective lens in my right eye, but my left eye remained legally blind. I found ways of coping with my vision throughout my life and was able to achieve a master’s degree and a successful career in technology, building trading systems on Wall Street. I never let my disability stop me. It did slow me down as it took me longer to read and write, but I managed to move forward.

“Now, I have a family and two grown up daughters. Three years ago, my glaucoma became unmanageable through medication. I underwent trabectome surgery to stabilize my ocular pressure before my vision would be lost in my right eye. The surgery was a success, however, there was enough damage before the surgery that I became legally blind in my right eye as well. Although I still have partial vision and I am able to work, this has been a life changing event and there is no guarantee that my pressure will not increase once again, damaging the rest of my optical nerve and causing complete blindness.

“In the process of getting myself designated as legally blind, I found support at Helen Keller Services for the Blind. Although I had some reluctance at first, I soon realized that I must plan for the future and learn though the services that were being provided even if I thought they may not apply to me.

“The time I spend with the Adjustment to Blindness Group has made a large difference in my life. The members of the group all shared life experiences and perspectives which I had not considered or even imagined. I had opportunities to share my experiences and interact with fellow human beings that have a deeper understanding of the emotional burden I was going through and the ramifications of my disability. My fellow group members all found different ways of coping with their visual limitations and it was inspiring as each one shared their wisdom. At the end of the day, a whole new world was opened up to me that I did not know existed. This provided me so much hope and optimism for the future.

“Participation in our group has given me the positive energy to move beyond just considering aspects of my disability and sharing what I have learned with others. I have joined the Accessibility Global Resource Group at my employer and plan to lead the local chapter in sharing knowledge and showing the importance of what disabled people can provide to our global management and executive leadership teams.” -David Rodriguez

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