KUSA - It’s nearly lunchtime at the Colorado Center for the Blind and students are preparing a meal they will enjoy, but never see.
“One of the things we want to focus on is to change the perception of blindness,” said Julie Deden, executive director of the Colorado Center for the Blind.
The Center works to teach those who are visually impaired how to live with blindness -- doing things people with sight do, but a little differently.
“We can live full lives – we work, we have kids – we just do everything that anybody else can do,” said Deden, who is visually impaired.
But could it be different? In the September issue of National Geographic, the magazine takes a look at the efforts to end blindness. It also includes a story about a $3 million prize offered by one visually impaired New York businessman.
“Ending blindness, in and of itself, is not a bad goal – but I don’t think it’s very realistic that we can end all blindness,” said Scott LaBarre, president of the National Federation of the Blind in Colorado.
LaBarre, who became blind when he was 10 years old, said the idea that people who are blind live in a form of perpetual darkness is a bit of a myth.
“Sure, let’s try and eliminate physical ailments if we can, but let’s not send such a negative message about those conditions that it really causes people to believe that blindness is a tragedy,” he said. “It’s not a tragedy.”
There have been some medical breakthroughs, though. There is a type of bionic eye and special glasses that can improve sight. An all-out cure, though, is not a reality -- yet.
For some who are blind, like Dan Burke, it would not matter to them.
“Would I choose to have my sight restored if I could? Probably not,” Burke said. “I’ve put too much into being a good blind person.”
For more information on the work of the Colorado Center for the Blind, go to http://coloradocenterfortheblind.org/