Ever wonder what some of your happiest low vision patients think about their eyesight?
We sat down (sort of) with Ken Brandt, author of the rollocking, humorous and inspiring adventure memoir “Positive Vision: Enjoying the Adventures and Advantages of Poor Eyesight”.
We love it that despite a roller coaster of vision ups and downs, Ken is super upbeat and super appreciative of the optometrists and other vision professionals who have enabled him to see.
What inspired you to write “Positive Vision”?
People like hearing about my adventures over coffees or beers, so I thought it would be fun to write them down and put them into a book. These include parachuting, helping firefighters battle an arson blaze, working on World Trade Center repairs, galloping around Montana, being accidently set on fire in a cave, scuba diving, and helping to chase down and catch a thief in New York City. The adventures take place in the US and Australia.
Many of the adventures include elements related to my poor vision, so I also included many incidents that demonstrate the advantages of poor eyesight. Good eyesight is absolutely better than poor eyesight, but there are advantages to poor eyesight. Relatable and practical examples of these advantages can include: longer life; more adventure and discovery; greater creativity and imagination; better balance, presentation skills, and enhanced use of the other senses; plus enjoyment of a more beautiful world.
Why did you write it now?
Growing up, I was not comfortable discussing the vision challenges I faced. People with normal vision might realize that my eyesight is worse than they thought, feel sorry for me, or treat me differently. Instead, I found it worked for me to just silently fight any fears and enjoy my everyday adventures.
Another reason I avoided discussing the subject of poor vision until now is that I thought it might be detrimental to my career and job prospects, and I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, or trying to help with things that I don’t need assistance with. But now it is all out there in the book and hope it will help and amuse people with poor eyesight and their friends and families.
What advice do you give your readers?
To readers with less than perfect eyesight, I say: follow the advice from health professionals, GPs, optometrists and other vision professionals – once you’ve done everything you can to protect your eyes, take care of your eye health, and safely improve your vision, then:
Relax and be grateful for whatever sight you have;
When you decide to go for something, give it a red-hot go, and
Love the challenges, see the bright side, appreciate the advantages, and enjoy the adventures of poor eyesight.
Which groups most enjoy reading “Positive Vision”?
The biggest group is people who likes reading or listening to adventure, humour, inspiring autobiographies/memoirs. The second biggest group is people with less than perfect vision, plus their friends, families, and work associates who would like greater insight into life with less than perfect vision.