Friday, July 17, 2009

What's it like to see for the first time?

Cross-posted on the YouTube Blog

Picture this: you've spent your whole life being legally blind. At the age of 24 you get a pair of glasses that brings the world into focus for the very first time -- first you can see the eye chart in the doctor's office; then you turn to your grandmother's smiling face, which you'd never really seen before. Tears are shed, and from then on you just can't drink in your surroundings fast enough.

This happened to Michael Davis, aka volunteerforvision, who's using YouTube to show people what the transformation was like from the inside. His video allows you to see, quite literally, what the world looked like to him before the glasses and after, with things like street signs, stars, blades of grass and book covers sharpening before your eyes:

Recently, Davis ran in his first race, "Journey for Sight," where he placed first among visually impaired runners. Buoyed by this success, he enlisted in a second run, for which he raised $1,000 for the children's hospital where he had 23 surgeries before the age of 13. Naturally, he made a video about the experience.

By using social sites like YouTube to try to find a community of people with similar experiences and to inspire others with his story, Davis is building toward his ultimate goal: to earn a masters degree in accounting and to start a nonprofit organization devoted to informing the visually impaired about the services available to them and how technology can enrich a life.


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