I've had a difficult time pinpointing a time when the vision loss began. Perhaps the few aspects of the environment which I was able to see were, for the most part, stable. Perhaps they could be detected by other senses--voices heard, a brief movement of air when someone passed me, etc--and my mind created a general image which I thought I saw. Or perhaps the world just became dimmer and smaller. Maybe all of these things played a part. In any case, it usually took returning to an environment where I had not been for some time or having something about the current environment change or present the need to see to cause me to realize that vision had been lost. It made the losses feel so sudden!
Then there are the fluctuations. On some days I can still perceive some very distorted version of the world I once could see. On other days, I cannot see anything. Is this because my vision is worse on those days or because the days are not as bright as other days?
I like the way Charlotte Sanford describes her gradual loss of vision (due to posterior uveitis) in her book, Second Sight.
I was like the men and women whose hearing gradually becomes impaired in later life. Without being aware of what is really happening, they become unable to hear high tones, such as bells andwhistles, begin to misunderstand conversation, and grumble about people who don't "speak up," and keep turning up the volume of the television, complaining that the words aren't clear. In exactly the same way, my world was becoming shadowy...