Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012 Join Host Kathleen Marshall for the first in a two-part series as she speaks with visually impaired identical twin sisters, both students at Humboldt State University, Julianna and Joannah Harris

Julianna and Joannah Harris, identical twin sisters, were born three months prematurely.  Because premature infants have underdeveloped lungs, unable to absorb oxygen from the air, they were given life saving oxygen supplementation.  Though oxygen supplementation saved their lives they were left with the most common side effect of prolonged oxygen therapy, Retinopathy of Prematurity, or ROP.  As children their vision was fuzzy.  Joannah likens it to what a person sees, or doesn’t see, looking into a fogged up mirror after showering.  ROP is a condition that worsens with age, eventually leading to complete retinal detachment which causes complete blindness, even with corrective surgery.A visually impaired skier and guide at the American Blind Skiing Federation event in Park City Utah 2009

Julianna and Joannah, now young women in their mid-twenties, are  personable and optimistic.  They describe the challenges they face with humor and dignity.  From their birth in Arkansas to their love of skiing and their career goals, they talk freely about their journey through a visually oriented world.

Be sure to tune in to TTEOW next Monday May 14, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. for part two in which Julianna and Joannah continue to describe their experiences as visually impaired students at HSU.

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