This gentleman has written a book about his experience with going blind and  his challenges along the way. This is an interview about his disease and the motivation to write his book. We found this to be enlightening into the world of the blind, it is a great book.- MDA

By E.Jones, WTNH Producer

“Tripping Into the Light” with Charlie Collins

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Taking a devastaing disease and turning it into an opportunity to help others. In the short form that is what author Charlie Collins did.  He was diagnosed with juvenile Macular Degeneration which eventually leaves you blind.  But after traveling through a downward spiral he realized his life’s purpose, helping other blind people.

You recently published an autobiographical book, “Tripping Into the Light”. What compelled you to write a book, Charlie?

For years I have been travelling and speaking in New England, telling this story of how I moved from frustration to freedom. I’d be approached by many participants afterwards who told me the story would make a fantastic book. I thought this would be a great opportunity to tell my story to a much broader audience.

How many people in the U.S. currently have macular degeneration?

Over 11 million people right now have been formally diagnosed with macular degeneration, the number of those who have it but have not pursued treatment is unknown. Due to baby boomer ageing, that number is expected to double by 2050 to a staggering 22 million.

How old were you when it was discovered you were going blind from juvenile macular degeneration?

Symptoms first appeared at the age of 9 and that is when I was diagnosed. My condition worsened and I was declared legally blind at age 13.

How did that impact you during the following years?

The initial diagnosis devastated me, shattered my hopes and dreams. Each year my self-esteem continued to drop.

How did the medical community help you treat and cope with the disease?

Medical community was of little help and provided minimal education and few resources.

What sort of resources were available at the time? And what resources are available today?

There were very limited resources and products available at the time, basic magnification and talking books. Today, with all of the evolution in technology, the options keep getting better. There is electronic magnification, apps for handheld devices and much more. The possibilities of living a life successfully with low vision are endless.

You went from self-destruct mode and then had an epiphany. Where did that “ah-ha” moment come from?

I woke up one day and realized that a small disease in the back of my eye was killing me – emotionally, spiritually and physically. I finally surrendered to the disease in my eye and took charge of my own life.

You say people don’t see with their eyes, they see with their brains. What do you mean?

Vision is done with your mind’s eye, not your eyeballs. Your eyes transfer images…..Read more:

Source: News 8