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Book Excerpt: T.J.'s Story

T.J.'s Story: A Book about a Boy Who is Blind

Text and Photographs by Arlene Schulman
Published by Lerner Publications

My name is T.J. Olsen. You can see me, but I can't see you. That's because I'm blind.

People who are blind can see very little or nothing at all. Some people are born blind. Others lose their sight when they get older because of illnesses such as glaucoma and diabetes. I was born with a disease called retinoblastoma. It's a kind of cancer. It affects babies when they're born.

When I was 11 months old, doctors had to do surgery to get rid of the cancer. They removed my eyes. Instead of real eyes, I have plastic ones. Most people don't know that I'm blind until they see me with my cane. It's white and red and it looks like a walking stick.

Your eyes work like a camera. There is a lens at the front of each eye. The lends focuses on what you're seeing. The colored part of the eye, called the iris, opens and closes to let in the right amount of light. At the back of the eye is the retina. It's like the film in a camera. It records a picture of what you see.

Many people wear eyeglasses because their eyes don't work perfectly. They may not be able to see things far away or close up very well. Normal eyeglasses aren't enough for people who are visually impaired or blind. Their eyesight cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses.

People who are visually impaired or blind may be able to see some things, like shapes or light and dark objects or very large things. In the United States, moe than a million people are blind.

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