After spending the first 17 years of her life as a “normal kid” one woman has spoken of her shock after it was revealed she was legally blind – and her parents had kept her condition from her.
Irish activist Caroline Casey was diagnosed as having a genetic eye condition when she was just six months old – but her parents decided not to tell her.
While she wore glasses and was “exceptionally clumsy”, Caroline had no idea about her blindness until a chance conversation with an eye specialist about learning to drive.
Surprised, the specialist then told her what her parents had been keeping under wraps for her entire life.
“I had ocular albinism, a genetic eye condition that causes permanent vision loss. I wouldn’t be learning to drive – not that year, or ever,” Caroline wrote in the Telegraph.
The disability campaigner then confronted her parents, and struggled to come to grips with her condition.
“All I remember is my mum crying as she admitted the truth,” reveals Caroline. "I think she was heartbroken she could no longer protect me from the reality.
“But my reaction was different: I simply couldn’t take in the news. I’d lived 17 years of my life as a normal kid and couldn’t relate to what I was being told.”
Fast forward to now and Caroline admits she’s always coped, but hit her biggest hurdle when she was 28 and the pressures of work and struggling to hide her condition became too much.
After a year’s sabbatical, Caroline returned and now devotes her to “promote a positive image of disability” and is currently doing 1,000km trek on horseback across Colombia.