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Posted on: August 31, 2021

Blind Man's Bluff

Blind Man's Bluff

At age sixteen, James Tate Hill was diagnosed with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. After high-school friends stopped calling and a disability counselor advised him to aim for Cs in his classes, he used his remaining blurry peripheral vision to pretend he could still see. Feigning eye contact, memorizing common routes, filling shelves with paperbacks he read via tape cassettes, he organized his life around passing for sighted. A wealth of pop-culture knowledge allowed him to steer conversations from what he couldn't see. For fifteen years, Hill hid his blindness from friends, colleagues, and lovers, even convincing himself that if he stared long enough, things would come into focus. At thirty, faced with a stalled writing career, a crumbling marriage, and a growing fear of leaving his apartment, he began to wonder if there was a better way.

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