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The woman who wants to Instagram the world before she loses her sight | The World Weekly

Lara Miller, a 33-year-old Australian, has responded to the unexpected diagnosis of going blind with the singular objective to see, photograph and share as much of the world as possible before losing her sight altogether.

"I'm losing my sight and can't do anything about it," she says. "But I feel that I'm seeing everything that matters."

This adventure began on her 19th birthday, when she was diagnosed with Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative and genetic ocular disease. "It means that I will slowly lose my peripheral vision, as if I am looking through a telescope — like the light at the end of a tunnel where only the details in the middle are focused," she says. "My eyes are also very sensitive to light, so I rarely take photos in the sun. I love cloudy days."

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of inherited conditions of the retina that all lead to a progressive reduction in vision over time. Among the first symptoms are difficulties with night vision and peripheral vision. As RP progresses, reading vision, colour vision, and central vision are affected. The condition gradually worsens over a period of many years, although complete blindness is rare. There is no cure, but there are a number of promising research avenues currently being explored.

Miller's first reaction to the disease was accepting the new reality, facing head on the profound changes in her everyday life. Then a holiday in Bali, a gift from her uncle, inspired her. "The awareness of my future loss of sight became a driving force for me to see the world," she recalls. "I want to do as much as possible before I can't anymore. I know what awaits me, but I won't sit here and wait for it."

Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the countries she has visited so far. Next on the list are Tasmania, Alaska, Japan, Finland and Cambodia. Always hand-in-hand with her husband and accompanied by a camera, she posts the images from her travels on Instagram (@lovewalkeatsee), where she has nearly 115,000 followers.

"For me, taking pictures means preserving things and having the chance to see the incredible scenes and details that seem distant and blurred to me," she says. "My eyes are always changing. There are good days and not so good days, days when I suffer and days when I don't. I try to adapt to these changes. Sometimes I have to find a different way of taking certain shots, and sometimes I have to avoid strong lighting. The changes influence how I take the photos."

A shot of the Amalfi coast, Italy

She never thinks about her future in the dark, noting that she faces the prospect without sadness. "When I travel, I feel courageous, resourceful and uninhibited," she says. "I was a little sad when I was in Iceland and I couldn't fully take in the Northern Lights. I was there in the dark, holding the tripod that my husband placed to capture the phenomenon. I listened to the others who were moving in black on top of that mountain and I experienced a moment of deep pain and sorrow. But I learned to work on myself and look past these moments of bitterness."

PacMan-esque sculpture by Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro at Trinity College, Dublin

This article was translated by World Crunch

Click here to support RP Fighting Blindness, a charity which helps patients live with RP and funds cutting edge research into the causes of and potential treatments for the disease.

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