Antowan participates in independent living skills and vocational rehabilitation classes at ABVI. Before losing his vision, Antowan was a member of the National Guard and worked in law enforcement. He is a proud dad of Aidan (13) and Aric (19). He loves photography, kick boxing, spending time with his kids and learning braille. Antowan is above with Aidan (left) and Aric (right).
When did you lose your vision? In 2006, I lost my vision one day while I was at work. Even though I didn’t have a history of vision issues, by the end of the day I was in the hospital with unexplained, sudden vision loss.
What happened after you lost your vision? Over the next 10 years, I had 3 cataract and 3 glaucoma surgeries before finding out that my vision loss was permanent. During this time, I was diagnosed with acute angle-closure glaucoma. I had to leave my job in law enforcement, and I began working at Best Buy so I could continue supporting myself.
Describe the symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma. It causes extreme pressure in my eyes, daily pain and regular migraines. I have no vision in my left eye and 30% in my right.
How did your vision loss make you feel? Originally, I thought my vision loss was temporary, so I felt optimistic. However, in 2016 that changed. I had to file for disability because I could no longer successfully do my job at Best Buy. I finally had to accept that my vision loss was permanent. That’s when I lost hope.
How has ABVI helped? Group therapy at ABVI has been life changing. When I came to ABVI, I could not imagine a new beginning that included thriving with vision loss. I could only see the end of the life I’d always known. ABVI changed all of that. I found people who were living fulfilled lives, despite their vision loss. I found people who were willing to support me, and I began to come out of my depression.
What’s next? Employment, I hope! I just enrolled in vocational rehabilitation classes at ABVI.
We are so proud of all that Antowan has achieved over the last year. We are so grateful to all of our donors, grantors and other supporters who help ABVI make it possible for individuals like Antowan to live, learn and earn with a visual impairment.