When Terry-Ann Adams first sat down to write her debut novel, Those Who Live In Cages, she herself was still fighting to get out of some of her own.
Terry-Ann is no stranger to grit, resilience and bravery; growing up with albinism in South Africa, she is the first to know what it feels like to be an outsider in your home. Moreover, her albinism diagnosis meant that she would grow up with a visual impairment from day one, having to wear goggles to shield her sensitive eyes from the bright sun.
And even though Terry-Ann was visually impaired, she could ‘feel’ the eyes of judgment upon her. She could sense the looks of strangers boring into her back and she wanted nothing more than to break free and feel beautiful in her skin. “It is difficult and frustrating living with a vision impairment,” she said, openly. “To those who don’t share the experience, please try to understand that our eyesight is so precious, so please do not patronize us.”
Terry-Ann comes from a family of storytellers. A writer at heart, she decided to focus her energy on her career and family. Whether it’s hiking with her husband and son or publishing her impactful book about five women of color who uphold the bonds of friendship and identity— all while persevering against domestic violence, coming of age, ingrained patriarchy and migration— Terry-Ann uses her voice to give a voice to others. The novel is set in Eldorado Park in the south of Johannesburg, the town right outside where she lives in Krugersdorp, South Africa.
Seeing and doing things never thought were possible.
“I believe in creativity as a force that drives me,” Terry-Ann shared of her writing process. “I am empathetic and believe that everyone should be treated fairly and because I didn’t grow up well off, I had to focus on my ambitions rather than my eyesight.”
But that all changed when Terry-Ann put on a pair of bioptics made by Ocutech. Bioptics are miniature telescopes that are attached to regular eyeglasses and just like binoculars, they make images larger and as a result easier to see. Ocutech bioptics enable the user to see much farther away, something Terry-Ann never thought she’d be able to do.
Ocutech bioptics gave Terry-Ann the independence she never thought she’d have: the opportunity to drive.
“There are so many challenges I’ve had to face before using Ocutech, but not being able to drive was my biggest one,” Terry-Ann admitted, honestly. “I have had to accept that I will have to use our terrible public transport system.”
Now, after using backabuddy, the author doesn’t have to imagine a world where she’s behind the wheel—she can actually do it! A world where she is able to read her own novel like every other bookworm and see her son and husband from across the room.
When it comes to Ocutech, Terry-Ann is extremely grateful for their quite literal visionary thinking.
“My bioptic has been by far the most effective visual aid I have ever used,” Terry-Ann said, passionately. “It has truly helped me to see the world with different eyes.”
Many thanks to Terry-Ann’s Low Vision Specialist and Provider is Hazel Sacharowitz,, Low Vision Care Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.