15th October 2017 | Eleanor Southwood hopes film will explain ‘the spectrum of sight loss’.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched a new film, ‘How I See’, demonstrating modern life through the eyes of blind and partially sighted people. It coincides with the charity’s 149th birthday tomorrow, 16 October 2017.
The film was launched by RNIB’s new chair Eleanor Southwood to help raise awareness of what living with sight loss is like. The 35-year-old is the youngest chair of RNIB and the first woman to hold the role.
Eleanor will lead RNIB’s 12-strong Board of Trustees, ten of who are, like her, blind or partially sighted. She originally joined RNIB in 2010 as the charity’s youngest trustee. An Oxford graduate, professional consultant, and local councillor, Eleanor is keen to debunk the stereotypical reactions people have when encountering blind and partially sighted people.
Eleanor said: “One of the greatest misconceptions is that all blind people can’t see anything. Of the people in the UK who are registered as blind or partially sighted, 93 per cent can see something.
“RNIB’s ‘How I See’ film shows how six people who are blind or partially sighted see the world and the everyday challenges they encounter. It’s a powerful way for the blind and partially sighted community to share our experiences with friends, supporters, and the wider public.”
The ‘How I See’ film features six blind and partially sighted people discussing their experiences and how their eye conditions affect them. It uses lens filters to simulate their eye conditions.
One of the people featured, Samantha Little, is from Aberdeenshire. She has Usher Syndrome Type 2, which consists of the sight loss condition retinitis pigmentosa alongside hearing loss.
“As someone who has a sight loss condition that’s almost invisible, I don’t look blind,” she said. “I think it’s crucial that the public understands that the spectrum of sight loss is huge and there’s not a rule for all.
“Being registered as blind doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t see anything. People have different sight loss conditions and different experiences of sight loss. So RNIB’s ‘How I See’ campaign is important to let people know that having sight loss is not all black and white.”
To find out more, visit www.rnib.org.uk/howisee or follow #HowISee on social media.