"I am glad I came here when I did, so I had time to get used to it. It would have been much harder if I had never seen it," McCown said. She was told less than two years ago that she had a damaged optic nerve.
McCown is now legally totally blind. "But I can still see just outlines. I can tell dark from light and shadows but there is not color there at all, just black and white.
There is no medication for her affliction; no surgery can repair the damaged nerve.
Instead of bemoaning the fact that she would no longer be able to do cross stitching, needlepoint or hardanger (a Norwegian craft), she made a decision.
"I decided that I needed to accept the fact that that's the way it was," she recalled. "I just decided I'd better learn to do what it took to stay independent."
A state agency helped her get on the right path. "The Iowa Department of the Blind was a big help. At first I had problems reading. I knew they had books on tape so I contacted them. A young woman came. She brought me the books on tape."
Read the rest of this article in the 11/18 Pilot Tribune.