Hi Everyone, I got the pleasure of interviewing my friend Glen. He is the fantastic blogger and YouTuber who runs Well Eye Never. Many thanks to Glen for allowing me to interview him and for allowing him to interview me in return. Don’t forget to check out his website 🙂
- What is your name?
In a few days time I’ll be 35 years old.
- Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging?
My parents also have sight loss like myself, and have always encouraged and supported me to achieve whatever I want to do. At the school for the visually impaired I went to, the teachers there were also very supportive and really helped me to grow in confidence. My friends also mean a lot to me and inspire me, of course. And the blogging community has been so welcoming and supportive of my efforts since I started doing this. It’s great to see that so many people want to work together with others, and aren’t just in it for themselves.
- Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like going out and about a lot, to see theatre shows and museum exhibitions, take part in quiz and game nights, go for walks and socialise with my friends. While at home I enjoy listening to a lot of music, podcasts and audiobooks, and watching TV and films.
- Name a bad habit that you have?
Not exercising as much as I should. Walking’s great and important in itself, and I eat well, so I’m not particularly unhealthy. But I would like to get fitter, and I could do with something like a gym buddy to give me the help and motivation to do that.
- Name your best quality?
I’m friendly and kind, I like to help others, and I have a positive attitude to life. There can of course be occasional frustrations because of my disability, but I very rarely get angry or really upset about things, because I don’t like feeling negative.
- If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?
I could pick loads. But from the music world it would have to be Freddie Mercury, because I’m a huge fan of Queen and Freddie was an amazing man, taken from us far too early. I could talk to him forever about the songs he wrote and performed with the band and in his solo career, and about his early life in Zanzibar and India. He had a great personality and sense of humour, so he wouldn’t be boring. And from TV, I’d love to interview David Jason about his life and work, as I love his comedy shows in particular, especially Only Fools And Horses. He’s such a genuine, down to earth, clever, funny gentleman, so it would be absolutely fascinating to chat to him.
- What is your college major/Minor?
At college I got A-Levels in Maths, Information Technology (i.e. computers) and Economics.
- What school (college or university) did you go to?
I went to the University of Exeter after leaving college, where I got a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Accounting & Finance.
- What is the title of your blog?
My blog’s called Well Eye Never. It took me a while to think of a name that felt unique, and I wasn’t sure if it would work to begin with. But it’s actually caught on really well and people seem to like the play on words. So I’m very happy with it and have no intention of changing it.
- When and why did you start your blog?
I’d never really used social media much in the past. But when I was preparing to move to London, I started exploring online to see the best accounts I could follow for news and events, and useful ways to make connections with other visually impaired people. That was when I was discovered the disabled blogging community, and the more I explored, the more tempted I was to get involved. So eventually I did, and I’m very glad I did. I’m really enjoying raising awareness of my visual impairment, discussing disability in general, sharing the adventures I have in London, and talking about other stuff that I enjoy, because people have responded so well to it.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll be 40 then, wow. I’ll still be in London, still exploring the city and still enjoying myself. I have no plans to leave the city, I love it here, as there’s always so much to see and do. Hopefully I’ll be settled down with a partner by then as well. It’s possible I might look for a new job in that time too, but I’m not sure yet.
- What is the name/cause of your visual impairment?
I have Aniridia, which means I don’t have an iris (the coloured circle around the pupil) in my eye. The iris is a muscle that controls the size of the pupil, to regulate the amount of light coming into your eye. So without it, I cannot easily adjust to changes in light. I do adjust a little bit, but it’s not very much and it happens very slowly. So I’m very sensitive to glare when I go out, even if it’s not sunny, and I find it harder to see in the dark. I also have Nystagmus, which means my eyes shake and wobble involuntarily all the time. So I can’t focus on things that are small or at a distance – they have to be large or close-up instead.
- How does your visual impairment affect you on a daily basis?
I have to wear green tinted sunglasses when I’m out in the daytime, even if it’s not sunny, because they help to reduce the glare a lot. And when I use my computer or iPhone, I invert the colours to have the screen in negative mode. That way, the background is black, so there’s no glare, and the white text on top stands out very clearly Also, when I’m outdoors I can’t see signs, street names, train departure boards, museum object labels, what’s happening on the stage in the theatre, etc. But I get around that by using a small telescope called a monocular, and at the theatre and museums I can get audio description and touch tours too. It can also be hard to find and navigate unfamiliar places, but apps like Citymapper and Google Maps really help there, while other apps like Seeing AI can help me to read things if need be. Technology has really helped me to be more independent, it’s amazing.
- What do other people feel about your visual impairment?
Members of the public often don’t notice it, because I don’t use a cane or a guide dog, as I feel I can see well enough not to need them. But people are generally happy to help if I need to ask them for it. My work colleagues were a bit unsure about how to interact with me when we first met, and were worried about saying anything that might offend me, as they weren’t used to having a visually impaired person around. And they weren’t sure how much I would be able to do in terms of the work. But very quickly, as I settled in and they got to know my personality and capabilities, they realized I was basically just like them and they didn’t need to worry, so they relaxed around me very quickly.
- If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be?
Don’t assume you can’t do things, because you’re capable of far more than you realise. You can do almost anything that anyone else can, with a bit of help if need be from technology or other people. So don’t be afraid to try new things, take up opportunities and pursue your dreams. It’s entirely possible to live a successful and happy life with sight loss.
Where can other people find you on Social media? (Please list and provide links)
Blog – https://welleyenever.com/
YouTube – https://youtube.com/c/WellEyeNever
Twitter – https://twitter.com/well_eye_never
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/welleyenever/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/welleyenever/