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Part 1: Beauty, purpose and understanding of eyesight in everyday life

16 November 2023

Eyesight is a remarkable human ability that shapes our perception of the world. Photo IMRAAN GALLO

This is the first of a series of articles by IMRAAN GALLO, a blind artist, where he shares his views of blind persons and how they interact with the environment.

EYESIGHT is a remarkable human ability that shapes our perception of the world, enabling us to navigate, communicate, and experience the beauty in our
surroundings. This excerpt explores the significance of eyesight in daily life, highlighting its aesthetic appeal, functional purpose, and the challenges faced by individuals who are blind.

It delves into the disparities between visually oriented technological advancements and the need for inclusive design that accommodates people with disabilities.
By understanding the complexities of eyesight and its role in inclusivity, we can strive to create a more equitable world for all individuals.

Often taken for granted, eyesight plays a pivotal role in the human experience. The human eye is not just a biological organ but a portal to understanding, beauty,
and environmental interaction. This paper will delve into the multifaceted aspects of eyesight in everyday life, examining its aesthetic qualities, functional significance, and the challenges those without this ability face.

It will also explore the need for inclusivity in a world increasingly dominated by visually intensive technologies.

The beauty of eyesight: Aesthetic appreciation

Eyesight allows us to appreciate the visual wonders of the world -the vibrant colours of a sunset, the intricate details of artwork and the natural landscapes that evoke awe.

Visual aesthetics shape our emotional responses and enhance our experiences, whether through the artistic portrayal of light and shadow or the enchanting
allure of a loved one’s smile. The connection between beauty and eyesight is undeniable, making it an essential avenue for emotional expression and human connection.

The purpose of eyesight: Functional significance

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, eyesight is a fundamental survival and navigation tool. Our eyes gather visual information that the brain interprets to understand the environment. The ability to perceive depth, distance, and movement is crucial for safe movement, enabling us to avoid obstacles and crossroads and interact with our surroundings.

Integrating visual cues with other sensory inputs contributes to our spatial awareness, facilitating our daily activities and ensuring our safety.

Navigating life without eyesight: Challenges and adaptations

For individuals who are blind, navigating the world presents unique challenges. The absence of vision requires an increased reliance on other senses, such as touch, sound, and spatial memory. Everyday tasks often taken for granted, like reading, recognising faces, and travelling independently, become intricate
feats requiring specialised skills and adaptive tools. The blind community has developed innovative techniques and technologies, such as Braille and screen readers, to bridge the gap caused by the absence of sight.

Inclusivity and the visually intensive world

The world has become increasingly visually oriented in an era of rapid technological advancement. From mobile applications to websites, the user interface (UI)
and user experience (UX) design plays a critical role in engaging users.

However, this trend often neglects the needs of individuals with visual impairments. The lack of inclusive design perpetuates digital exclusion, limiting access to information and services for those who rely on alternative means of interaction.

The Call for Inclusive Design The principles of inclusive design urge us to consider the diverse needs of all users, including those with disabilities. UI and UX designers must prioritise accessibility by incorporating screen reader compatibility, adaptable font sizes, and high-contrast options.

By integrating these elements into their creations, designers can ensure that technology becomes an individual with visual impairments.

Building an inclusive future

Efforts to promote inclusivity extend beyond technology. Public spaces, infrastructure, and education also play vital roles in shaping the experiences of individuals with visual impairments.

Urban planning that incorporates tactile markers, auditory signals at crosswalks, and inclusive educational practices can empower blind individuals to lead
more independent and fulfilling lives.

Fostering inclusivity through understanding

In conclusion, eyesight is an exquisite gift that enriches our lives in countless ways, from appreciating aesthetics to facilitating everyday functionality.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by blind individuals within a visually intensive world underscores the urgency of inclusivity in design and decision-making.
As technology continues to reshape our interactions with the world, prioritising accessibility ensures no one is left behind. By embracing the diversity of human
abilities, we can foster a more empathetic and equitable society for everyone.

Imraan Gallo, a creative director and photographer, was diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma as a teenager and only has 15% vision.

Source: Muslim Views


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