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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.




Before I tell you  a personal story related to living with a visual impairment, I have some project news. Thanks to our Swiss associate Rosalind Zaugg, the Checkered Eye Project (CEP) is taking another step toward awareness in Switzerland.  In 13 years the CEP has been unable to enlist assistance from Canadian organizations that provide services to people who are blind or have low vision.  However, thanks to Rosalind's efforts over the last few months,

the UCBA, the biggest such organization in Switzerland, wrote and published an article about the CEP in one of their newsletters.  As a result of the article they received some interest in the checkered eye from clientele and so, at an upcoming  open house in August, they will be displaying  checkered eyes and CEP literature, both translated for them into French. 

Although this doesn't mean that the UCBA is officially on board, I remain optimistic.


This month my hubby Ray and I have been working on a renovation to our basement.  We did some of the work but most of it we hired out.  Of course all the design decisions are ours.  Here’s how that’s relevant to the Checkered Eye Project blog; we’re both color blind. 

Ray is an average sighted person, wears glasses for reading and driving, but he is quite color blind.  I commented to him one day that I thought the brown shirt he was wearing was a good shade for him.  He looked a bit disappointed and told me he thought it was red – significant color blindness!

I was unaware that I was color blind until being thoroughly tested when the doctors were trying to diagnose my condition.  Even since being informed that I am color blind I haven’t found it to effect much.  I match my clothes just fine, paint the odd piece of art, and do well at fabric selections for sewing projects.  So I felt quite confident in the color selection I made for the bank of cabinets we bought for the wet bar in the basement.

Wrong!  Boy was I wrong! I was planning a color scheme that is inspired by a pair of vases I have

and the color I wanted for the cabinets was red, fire engine red. 

The color I got was not that!  I posted a photo of them and asked my Facebook friends what they’d call that color.  I got answers like burgundy, eggplant, and merlot. 

I’ve never used any of the color detecting gadgets that are available for people who can’t see for themselves, so I’m not sure if they differentiate between colors like red and burgundy.  Regardless, since I do okay, as far as I know, with day to day color picks, I don’t’ think I’ll go out and get one of those just yet. I will however seek consultation from someone who has acute color vision the next time I'm making choices about things that are expensive or large permanent fixtures in the house!

My take away from this experience is that it's important to understand my own limitations. That way I have the opportunity to learn about tools and methods with which to manage them, and decide which ones work for me.


Comments: 1 Comment



  • Comment by Rosalind on Aug 2, 2013

    Hi Libby,

    I sympathize with your difficulties in distinguishing colours. Although my vision is really bad, I still have a fairly good perception of colour, though it has declined, I'm sometimes not sure if something is dark brown, black or navy blue, and some days are better than others.

    With regard to my efforts to promote the Checkered Eye in Switzerland, the organisation which published the information about the badges is a regional branch of the UCBA, not the main organisation. Hopefully we will make some progress when the badges are put on show at the open days of this regional office. I am trying very hard to get financial backing to get the Going Blind movie dubbed into French, I think screenings of the movie would be ideal occasions to also promote the Checkered Eye. Both the movie and the Checkered Eye emphasize the need for raising awareness, with regard to low vision. It's obviously a world-wide problem.

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