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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.




The phone number for the CEP is listed on the website and any calls that come in come directly to me.  I am delighted to have the time to chat with folks who call for info about ordering the checkered eye pins or who want to request literature.  We often end up chatting at length about our shared experiences as people with a hidden disability.  Most often my callers express the frustration of being mistaken as fully sighted when requesting assistance.  This is an experience I’ve had many times myself, so I’m thrilled to tell you that on my trip to Ottawa this past July, the majority of retail staff I queried was familiar with the meaning of the checkered eye.  Yup, the majority!  Now of course I didn’t ask every one, and sometimes I was carrying my white cane so I got the sensitive assistance I’d request, but I got a great lift whenever I’d ask a stranger if they knew the symbol and the answer was “yes”!

Okay so that’s the up side of this blog entry.

Upon returning from my little vacation in our nation’s capital, I took a seat at my desk to review telephone messages.  One was from an eye doctor in London, Ontario, who last year had requested a supply of checkered eyes to sell from his office.  He had decided that since he wasn’t selling many of them, he’d return his remaining stock and discontinue making them available from his office.  I find this disappointing.  Not only will the CEP lose an outlet, but we’ll lose the little credibility boost we get by having this eye doctor on our “where to get one” page.  We have several drug stores and one other optometrist’s office so that will do for now.

Neither of these bits of news is all that significant I suppose.  They are ice chips in the slushy that is the Checkered Eye Project: sweet and refreshing at times, if it goes the wrong way it can make me choke, and too much all at once can give me brain freeze!


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