BOOK REVIEW: Positive Vision By Ken Brandt

Ken Brandt has had poor vision since being born prematurely, with subsequent progressive myopia resulting in a detached retina and eventually also cataracts. With six eye operations to his name, his acuity has bounced around between about 6/15 and less than 6/123, so legally blind, over 40 years.


Along the way he’s had remarkable experiences and learnt to view life from a different angle to most (another of his problems being a noticeable squint), demonstrating that having low vision need not limit success and that attitude and a sense of humour go a long way. Brandt has enjoyed a successful career as an IT security consultant, is a musician and enjoys a happy family life, proving it’s not about how much vision one has, but how one views the world. His ability to always look on the bright side is truly inspirational.


Other successful individuals with poor eyesight are given credit in chapter four. Inspiring as they are, Brandt introduces these well-known people as being spectacle wearers, which is not the same thing as having low vision. Elsewhere, his theory that people with bad vision have great hand-eye coordination is a bit suspect, although his description of underwater vision is more sound.


Between each chapter is a page of eye-related jokes; my favourite being: Why do optometrists live so long? Because they dilate.


Since the majority of people with low vision have enjoyed good vision until confronted by age-related conditions, they may have difficulty relating to Brandt’s anecdotes as they try to negotiate their new normal. But Brandt’s dry, self-deprecating wit would lend itself well to an audio book and he offers an uplifting insight into life with low vision for sighted people.


For more,


Naomi Meltzer has worked in optometry for more than 30 years and runs an independent optometry practice specialising in low vision consultancy in Auckland.


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