Donna Adkins's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Waynesboro, Virginia, but anywhere.

At 78 years old, Donna has lived most of her life with partial sight or being completely blind. Donna was born with a rare birth defect that resulted in no pupil formation in her right eye and something referred to as a congenital cataract in her left eye.

Unfortunately, Donna had no sight out of her right eye, and when she was 2 years old, the doctors removed her right eye and replaced with a prosthetic eye so that her left eye didn’t assimilate to the habits of the right eye. At age 39, the cataract had become so thick that her vision was of no use. She opted to have the cataract removed and due to complications during the procedure, pressure in her eye dropped too low that she lost complete vision in her left eye.

Nothing has stopped Donna from living her life and being as independent as possible. It may take her longer to do something than someone else; however, she always finds a way to get it done. In her story she shares many great tips she’s learned to live in a sighted world.

Location: Waynesboro, Virginia, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

I was never treated like a blind person at home. I had to do things like the other kids had to do. I had to do housework, I had to do dishes, I had to do outside things. When I was 11 years old we moved to the country, and we had goats and we had cows. And I carried water, and I helped to mow, and you know just different things like that.

So my husband, well he was my fiancé then. He said, “Well why don’t you go into massage because you don’t have to see to do that.” And so I did.

I’m just an independent person. And that I can do most anything that anybody else can do, maybe a little slower, but I can do it. I have adaptive equipment that helps me to do you know my, do email and other things.

So I got to go up in the Statue of Liberty and I walked up all of those steps without having any trouble… not being able to see. And so, I couldn’t see it, but I experienced it. And I had the experience of riding through Central Park on a, in a horse and buggy.