Three months to see: Leber’s Optic Neuropathy

girl's arms and landscape barely visible from sides as central vision is dark so face and body cannot be seenWhat would you do if you were told you had only three months of vision left? Those of us with strabismus can usually clear our vision by squinting or closing one eye. But while pursuing a promising career as a fashion designer, Steph Cutler discovered that she could not see when she closed her right eye. Steph would soon learn that she had an inherited condition called Leber’s Optic Neuropathy, and would likely loose her vision in about three months.

Leber’s Optic Neuropathy affects central vision. Site loss occurs rapidly over a period of a few weeks. One or two months later the same thing happens to the other eye. Those affected are unable to see anything directly in front of them, but their peripheral vision remaions intact.

What did Steph Cutler do when she realized she had only three months of central vision left? She started a business that would help others! Open Eyed offers visual awareness training in schools. “I work with teachers to produce interactive lessons where pupils learn about guiding, play tactile games and wear sim-specs,” Steph says. She also works with commercial organizations to provide disability compliance consultancy.

Most of us with strabismus will not have sight loss to the degree that Steph does. But often we have enough double vision to hinder us from keeping up our daily routines. When we are frustrated with the double vision and constant struggle to stay focused, let us be thankful that we can see double rather than not seeing at all.

To learn more about Steph, her business, and her positive approach, visit her website, Open Eyed.

Photo credit: Central vision sight loss simulator, created by Lois for EyesApart.com; must include a link to http://eyesapart.com if used online.

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