Losing Your Sight Overnight (Part II)

Born with congenital glaucoma, Marie-Christine Ricignuolo became blind a few months after delivering her first child.

By Frédéric Lebeuf

She thought it unthinkable that they can’t cure glaucoma in the year 2020. For her, losing her sight was the end of the world.

She was confronted with her greatest fear. Unable to leave her bed, she cried herself dry of tears. She had some dark ideas, but those close to her supported her in her adversity. “I didn’t want to live this way,” she says.

Gym Relief

Calling herself a “fille de gym,” Marie-Christine loves to run and train. To continue with her passion, she’s had to tame the treadmill: “I don’t go the same speed as I used to, but I’ve rediscovered my love of running.” When she walks with someone else, she can ask them to run with her over a short distance.  She holds their arm and has some fun for a few moments. 

A big traveler, she’s found other things to satisfy her: meeting people and tasting the local cuisine. She’s also developed her other senses. “It’s important that someone describes the scene around me. I can represent it inside my head.”

A big watcher of TV series, she had to let that interest drop for a while. Now she uses descriptions for the visually impaired, and she’s learning to follow television that way: “I watched a movie and I cried. Even if I hadn’t seen an image, I still felt moved by the cinematography.”

Back to Basics

In her former life she could get highly critical of how people dressed, and of the brand names they sported. Before leaving home she could look in the mirror 14 times over: “I can’t see beautiful things now. At the same time, I can’t see things that make me unhappy. I put so much importance into what the world thought of me. It made me sick. My vision loss brought me back to basics.”

She says: “There are dramas each and every day. Everyone goes through big, difficult tests. My loss of vision was my test. Nobody can get around that. Do we give up the race just because there are obstacles in our way? “

Marie-Christine exclaims: “I look forward. My experience has taught me to live from day to day. I can’t project myself into the future!”

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