Challenges in weight loss: Doing it blind

Person searching for an app in the Apple App store on an iPhone.
Apps can help with the process of weight loss for those visually impaired.

Losing weight can be pretty complicated for most of us. Imagine doing it while going blind!

That’s where I’m at these days. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an abnormal development of the blood vessels in the eye. It primarily effects infants born early and is one of the most common causes of vision loss in children.

ROP stole most of my eyesight at birth, so I’ve always had low vision. Along the way, other retinal issues and glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve of the eye, came along for the ride.

Now, despite numerous surgeries and countless eye drops, the glaucoma is wildly out of control. It won’t be tamed, and it’s doing what it does best – stealing the rest of my eyesight.

To adjust and prepare for the day when everything turns grey or black, I am taking classes. Though my adjustment training classes don’t address weight management strategies, I’ve been using common sense and a little imagination to find solutions to every day challenges.

For now, I’m relying on my remaining eyesight and good memory to know how many calories and carbs certain foods have. In addition to my vision loss, I also have diabetes, so counting carbs matters.

Small changes to my kitchen allow me to cook independently. I have raised dots on my stove and oven knobs so I know the temperature for cooking. A talking timer, along with my sense of smell and touch, helps me cook.

One very important thing I’m learning is Braille, which will allow me to make labels for measuring cups, spoons, containers, cans, you name it. That way, I can put food servings in small containers and know that I’m eating the right amount of food.

I have even put together a wish list of adaptive aids that will help me manage my weight as my vision gets worse. One item on my list is a talking scale. Pretty cool.

Another item on my list is an iPhone or iPad. Why? Because there are apps specifically for blind people. There’s an app that takes a picture of what you want to read and reads it to you, and another that reads UPC codes back to you so that you know what things cost. There really is an app for that!

Losing weight doesn’t have to stop because you’re going blind. Sure, it’s a bit challenging, but for me, it’s also exciting and fun because I’m learning new ways to do things.

Hey, I got this!

Additional Resources
Learn more about ROP

Get the facts on glaucoma

Read more stories from the GoWoman community

By Anita Cameron, guest blogger and member of the GoWoman Community Advisory Committee

4 thoughts on “Challenges in weight loss: Doing it blind

  • The biggest challenge for me, as a guy who is totally blind is not being able to see the results of weight loss as far as how my body looks on the outside.
    Even though I am almost five years out from gastric bypass surgery, there are still days that mentally, I feel the size I was before major weight loss. I have to get a pair of jeans or a shirt in my hands to remind me of the much smaller size that I am.

    This may not be as much of an issue when there is not drastic weight loss as I had (336 to 172 pounds) but I can only guess on that as that isn’t exactly my experience.

    There are great online resources for nutritional information and directions. My favorite is Directions For Me which can be accessed by going to:

    The Atkins brand of frozen meals are great in their nutritional values and they taste great.

    Another great source is from a blog: The World According To EggFace. While her recipes are targeted at those who have had weight loss surgery, they are delicious and nutritional for anyone. She often mentions that she will cook for people who haven’t had weight loss surgery and they have no idea how nutritious the food is that they are enjoying. One might need to adjust portion size but her recipes are easily adapted for size and ingredients.

  • I love this! It’s so rare that I find a blog post specifically aimed at blind people, for blind people, by blind people. I, too, am diabetic and on a weight loss journey of my own. I also had ROP. I love being totally blind and I’d never go back to being fully or even partially sighted.

  • I am totally blind from Congenital Glaucoma. So I have been visually impaired most of my life and now am totally blind. I am on a weight loss journey and trying to figure out how I can get a walking buddy. I am having Gastric Bypass surgery RNY. I haven’t got my surgery date but I am very close to getting that date. I am 5 11 and last year was 460 pounds. I am currently 365 and I am hoping to loose 10 more pounds before I see the surgeon. I am kind of scared about having the surgery because they say that you have to be up and starting to walk the day after the surgery. I don’t really have anyone who can come to the hospital and walk with me. Does anyone know of any blind or visually impaired people who’ve had weight loss surgery?


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