Hi everyone, my name is Maya-Liam and I have Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). This means I was born early so my eyes didn’t develop properly. I’m registered blind, have no sight in my left eye and a tiny tunnel of vision in the right eye.
I think I’m a bit of a technology whizz, I use my Mac and iPad to produce music, take photos with added image descriptions, and I go online...a lot.
Lots of people think that blind and partially sighted people can’t get online at all - which isn’t true! Even when technology wasn’t what it is now in terms of accessibility, I was still using it. I struggled a lot more with it when I was younger, although with the development of accessibility settings on devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones, I can get online whenever I want.
On my iPad, I use Zoom, which is setting that allows me to zoom in and out of the screen by just double-tapping the screen with three fingers. I almost always choose ‘Follow Focus’ aka Zoom window, because I have tunnel vision. It means I only have to concentrate on one part of the screen at a time. The smaller this part of the screen is, the less my right eye gets tired.
The best thing about getting online as someone who is registered blind is being able to talk to my friends - I never feel like I’m on my own. Going online is also a fun way to interact with my blind and partially sighted friends, we mainly use Facebook to keep in touch with each other.
Being online definitely stops me from being socially isolated and my friends even encourage me to do my travel training, use my cane and tell me routes to places over Facebook (my friends all cheer when I bring my cane to the pub!).This means I can go and meet them when I might not be able to otherwise.
My top tip for anyone who is blind or partially sighted and wants to surf the web is to try before you buy. Make sure you know exactly which accessibility features might work for you. Get some help setting your hardware up (I had help with both my iPad and my Mac) and you’re ready to get online!