Many disabilities, including visual disabilities, cannot be prevented.  They result from genetic disorders, disease processes, or aging processes.  But some disabilities can be prevented.

I am an avid cyclist.  Three weeks ago, I went for a bike ride with a couple of friends.  It was a beautiful morning.  We were riding on familiar roads, with very little vehicular traffic.  I remember the sensation of riding over some rough road and the realization that I was going to fall.  I don’t remember hitting the road.  I spent the next several hours in the emergency room of the nearest hospital.  I had road rash all along the left side of my body, multiple lacerations on my face, black and blue eyelids, a headache and a soreness along the left side of my head.  I was diagnosed with a mild concussion and I was able to walk out of the emergency room.

I WAS WEARING A PROPERLY FITTING HELMET AND PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR WHEN I CRASHED.  When I got home, I took a look at my helmet and my glasses.  The helmet had multiple cracks along the left side.  My helmet cracked but my head did not.  My “sports goggle”/prescription eyewear wasn’t even bent.  But most of the paint was scraped off the front of the frame and the lenses were deeply gouged.  The glasses will be replaced; my eyes, which cannot be replaced, required no treatment.

I don’t like to think about what would have happened if I wasn’t wearing a helmet and protective eyewear.  They may have saved my life.  At the very least, they saved me from far more serious injury and resultant disabilities.

Health care, particularly in the US, is focused on diagnosis and treatment.  Public health organizations do their best to provide education concerning prevention, and in a few instances, prevention is legislated (seatbelts, no smoking laws, etc.).  Most of the time,  it is the individual who must choose.  From my perspective, this is a no-brainer.  Choose prevention.  Wear a helmet and protective eyewear.  Invest in yourself, prevent a life-threatening injury or a lifelong disability.  You are worth it.

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