Careers in the dim future
April 16, 2009 6:16 PM   Subscribe

I have some long term degenerative eye problems that may result in blindness over the next 10-20 years. What are some fields in which I could prosper despite this potential handicap?

I have seen a number of eye doctors about the condition and there are no current treatments likely to change the progression of the disease. I have made my peace with this eventuality and am not depressed about it.

I'm in my mid-thirties and currently do light programming and sysadmin work in the healthcare field, but am looking for a change. Possibilities include law, clinical trials work, biostatistics, or some type of software implementation work. The job needs to pay reasonably well to keep up with increasing healthcare costs as time goes on. I am not an extrovert but enjoy interacting with people.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Could you move into management/communications work? You could be a liaison between companies that use programmers (perhaps like your current employer) and outsourced programmers. Knowing programming yourself, and understanding programmers, you could help translate the needs of the company/client into clear requirements that will help the programmers work efficiently.
posted by amtho at 6:25 PM on April 16, 2009

With the healthcare systems experience, you might be interested in working with an insurance broker. They frequently have to discuss benefits and technical items like eligibility files.
posted by slavlin at 6:32 PM on April 16, 2009

This question reminded me of T.V. Raman who is blind and works at Google.

From NY Times:
Along the way, Mr. Raman built a series of tools to help him take advantage of objects or technologies that were not designed with blind users in mind. They ranged from a Rubik’s Cube covered in Braille to a software program that can take complex mathematical formulas and read them aloud, which became the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation at Cornell. He also built a version of Google’s search service tailored for blind users.

I understand he has a different professional history than you (and it's no easy trick getting a job at Google), but I found him to be inspiring in that he is embracing technology and making it more accessible for folks who are blind. Is there research that you could do with your software implementation/sysadmin/programming work?

Also, Macular Degeneration runs in my family (my grandmother, my mother, an aunt) and my mother is finding new paths of living as well. I can't imagine how tough this can be, and I think it's great that you are planning ahead.
posted by anthropoid at 6:54 PM on April 16, 2009

Also, feel free to msg me if you would like to know about the treatments my mother is getting for macular degeneration, if it applies to your situation
posted by anthropoid at 6:56 PM on April 16, 2009

OK, this may seem too obvious, but what about fields that are verbal rather than visual? Law is one such example, but I think a better one (and slightly related to healthcare) would be therapy/psychology. In fact, any kind of counseling (psychological, vocational, spiritual, marital, child, etc) would be ideal, if your interests run that way.

I've also heard of blind teachers and professors, by the way.
posted by math at 8:10 PM on April 16, 2009

Where I work, we have an embedded systems programmer (I think that's what it's called, he works on firmware) who is blind.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:55 PM on April 16, 2009

« Older Cat is licking himself raw--how worried should I...   |   De-program me. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.