• Michelle Hebert

YouTube star experiences being blind for a day

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Shane Dawson, a popular YouTuber, started uploading his video series with Molly Burke, a YouTuber who has retinitis pigmentosa: an eye disease that includes decreased vision at night or in low light and loss of side vision. Due to this condition she is legally blind.

To learn more about what Burke can see, you can go to YouTube and search for "Molly Burke" and watch her videos.

Dawson uploaded two videos in the week of April 8-14 about Burke. After Dawson had finished editing the video that was supposed to be the third and final video in the series, he told everyone that the third video with Burke would be uploaded on Monday, April 16, 2018; he made the announcement on his social media platforms after deciding he thought the video was different from the first two.

The third video with Burke is titled, “SWITCHING LIVES WITH A BLIND PERSON.” Dawson, Burke, Burke’s mom and friend, Garrett Watts, Ryland Adams, and Andrew Siwicki were all a part of the video. Dawson, Watts, and Adams all put on goggles that sighted people can wear to experience different eye diseases that impair vision. Burke brought three different pairs of goggles for them to wear along with an eye mask to show complete blindness: one that simulates Burke’s disease, cataracts, and retinal detachment.

While wearing the goggles, the three tried to do normal everyday tasks with the help of a cane and at times Burke. They went into Starbucks and ordered drinks, walked across a crosswalk that makes no noise or vibration to assist the blind, and tried picking out clothes and trying them on in Urban Outfitters.

In the video, after getting Starbucks, Dawson leaves Burke for a moment and explains how he feels mentally about the experience. He explains how he was having terrible anxiety while doing the tasks. Adams and Watts did not seem to express the same feelings about the experience.

In one of the final clips of the video, Burke shows Dawson and others how she uses her phone while being blind, and Dawson tries to use his phone in the way Burke uses her phone. The phone voices everything to Burke, and while taking photos, the phone voices how many people are in the photo and continues to repeat “large face” about Dawson.

Burke shows throughout the video it is difficult but doable being blind. She also says she does not wish to have her sight back for multiple reasons, and she made a video addressing this popular question.

In the last clip, Dawson claims “that was crazy” about the whole day he had just experienced. The experience changed his whole outlook on being blind and gave him insight on what it is like.