Dining in the Dark is an experience that every sighted person should undertake. The black mask that covered my face comfortably blocked out all light. Fortunately for me I had seen my plate of food and moved the beverage glasses towards the center of the table before I blindfolded myself. As soon as I couldn’t see the smells of the food became more intense. The first few times I brought my fork to my mouth it was empty. It was very labor intensive to search out and fork up food to my mouth. About half way through the job of eating, I decided to put down my fork and pat the remaining contents of my plate. That enabled me to find the puréed sweet potato at 11:00pm! I told one of my fellow optometric diners about the location of the sweet potato and he thanked me and asked if he could just pick up and eat his salmon with his hand. I reassured him that no one at the table would know because we were all in the dark.
Before embarking on this blind dining experience, we were entertained and inspired by Tom Sullivan, who has been blind from birth due to Retinopathy of Prematurity. Tom told us about growing up without sight and how the ophthalmologist who diagnosed him as blind told his parents to institutionalize him. They did send Tom to Perkins School for the Blind and even though there were high fences around the school, Tom’s spirit was not dampened. He graduated from Harvard number one in his class. Tom has lead a full and “normal” life. He is now dedicated to helping fight blindness.
Earlier in the day we had seen a video about children who are blind and how their parents hold out hope that a cure will be found in their lifetime. We all pledged to help by donating to the Foundation Fighting Blindness which expends 100% of its charitable donations for research. I encourage you to support FFB at FightingBlindness.org
– Dr. Christensen