Dave Steele, also known as the “Blind Poet,” shares his story of living with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a hereditary eye condition that causes progressive vision loss. He is 44 years old and hails from Manchester. RP affects his peripheral vision first, leading to tunnel vision, and eventually, his central vision is also impacted, leaving him with a limited field of view.
Dave recounts how his vision loss began in his early 20s with night blindness, but it didn’t affect his day-to-day life until later. He worked as a singer and led an active life until he received the devastating news from an eye test that he had to stop driving immediately. Losing his job, struggling financially, and feeling isolated due to his vision loss took a toll on his mental well-being.
He highlights the common misconceptions surrounding low vision and blindness, with people assuming that blindness means seeing nothing at all. In reality, many visually impaired individuals, like Dave, have some useful vision. These misconceptions can lead to needless isolation for those not fitting into the perceived image of a blind person.
Dave discusses the challenges of living with low vision, not just coping with the loss of sight but also adjusting to daily tasks. He encourages others to take their time to come to terms with their vision loss and not rush themselves through the process. Connecting with others through social media and sharing his journey through poetry and music has been therapeutic for him and inspiring for others facing similar challenges.
Despite facing bad days and ongoing anxiety, Dave remains resilient and continues to advocate for those with low vision. He aims to be a voice for others, offering support and breaking down misconceptions about blindness. Dave’s story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in overcoming adversity and embracing life with a positive outlook. The videos he creates have touched people globally, and he hopes to continue helping others by sharing his experiences.