A visually impaired YouTuber has gained popularity for posting videos showing people how she lives her life with no sight.
Joy Ross said: “A lot of people with eyesight can’t understand how a blind person does simple things… I think people take it for granted that you can do all these things.”
Ross, who lives in Washington State, started her channel four years ago. She films and edits her videos herself.
The project began as a Facebook page, called Through The Eyes Of Joy, and grew quickly at the beginning of this year.
Ross said: “This past November I had 5,000 subscribers on YouTube… Now I have 54,000, and it’s just March.”
She said: “It’s just unbelievable because it’s just me, I run my own channel, I’m completely blind. I see nothing, no light perception, I’ve been completely blind for 10 years… I do everything by sound and touch. My ears are my eyes.”
Ross has had juvenile arthritis since she was a child, which affected her eyesight over many years, finally causing her to lose her sight completely 10 years ago.
Ross said: “It was difficult… my little girls were babies when I lost my sight 10 years ago.”
After losing her sight, Joy got a guide dog named Antonia; she worked with the dog for nine years before the guide retired. She now has a new dog, Arabella.
Ross worked with her new guide dog for three weeks before filming a video of her crossing a busy junction with Arabella for the first time.
The video shows the way Ross has to train the dog while crossing, and the difficulties that come with getting used to a new guide dog.
She said: “It was super scary… I’ve worked with my former guide for nine years. Antonia my yellow lab, she was the key to helping me find joy again. She gave me back my freedom, my independence… Retiring her was extremely hard.”
“Antonia was amazing, she was incredible as a guide… How do you trust another dog to be just as amazing, and to keep me safe?”
“I don’t allow those fears to keep me home, sitting on my couch, living a small life.”
Due to her popularity, Ross has been invited to be the commencement speaker at this year’s senior graduation at the Washington State School for the Blind.
She said: “There’s low expectations for blind children. They don’t expect a blind person to be able to operate a camera, or to be able to write… Nothing warms my heart more than to know that I am inspiring so many other blind kids.”
“Just because you may not have eyesight, if you lose your eyesight, you can still live an incredible life.”