Unblinded: One Man's Courageous Journey Through Darkness to Sight
Unblinded is the true story of New Yorker Kevin Coughlin, who became blind at age thirty-six due to a rare genetic disorder known as Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Twenty years later, without medical intervention, Kevin's sight miraculously started to return. He is the only known person in the world who has experienced a spontaneous, non-medically assisted, regeneration of the optic nerve. Unblinded follows Kevin's descent into darkness, and his unexplained reemergence to sight.
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About the Author
--ROBERT KURSON, New York Times bestselling author of Crashing Through, Shadow Divers, and Pirate Hunters
"Unblinded tells a remarkable story of sudden blindness, new vision, and sight regained. It offers great insight into the nature of reality--that which we perceive and that which we create for ourselves."
--ISAAC LIDSKY, New York Times bestselling author of Eyes Wide Open
"Unblinded provides honest, profound insight into the emotional trauma that occurs when vision is lost and the path forward in life cannot be seen."
--LISSA POINCENOT, National Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy Advocate
"Miracles can happen from the inside out. In Unblinded, Traci Medford-Rosow leads us through the wondrous story of one man's experience of overcoming blindness. Unblinded takes the reader on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of what went on during those years of darkness and how Kevin Coughlin, after battling alcoholism, loneliness, prejudice, and perhaps most of all himself, emerges as a man of wisdom and sight."
--ANN CAMPANELLA, Award-winning and bestselling author of Motherhood: Lost and Found
"A tale about overcoming personal tragedy risks sentimentality. Unblinded offers instead a sightless perspective on reality that could engage a physicist."
--PROF. NEIL J. SULLIVAN, Author: The Prometheus Bomb and The Dodgers Move West
This biography chronicles a man's sudden vision loss, his self-reinvention, and his seemingly miraculous partial recovery of sight.
In New York City in February 1997, Coughlin's sight began deteriorating. Five days later, he was completely blind--stricken in his 30s by a rare, irreversible genetic disorder of the optic nerve that normally affects teens and young adults. Already alcohol-dependent, he was soon unemployed and dependent on disability checks. He confronted countless challenges in navigating city life, including physical barriers, inconsiderate strangers, and bureaucratic delays. In his favor, however, were his persistence and his preternatural ability to enlist help from others. For example, he persuaded a clerk to sell him a cane without the required mobility certification, and an ally at Gay Men's Health Crisis helped him join a support group of HIV-positive blind people even though he was upfront about being HIV-negative. He continued to pursue his love of visual arts and photography by engaging a curator to narrate museum visits and a sighted Alcoholics Anonymous colleague to help take pictures. Coughlin also achieved sobriety and took up meditation, prayer, and ayurvedic practices. His physical and spiritual health improved, which helped him deal with the loss of another job and a beloved guide dog. Fifteen years after becoming blind, his sight began to return, but he already saw life differently. He began a journal (reprinted as an appendix), in which he cites "patience, prayer and turmeric" as "the corner stones of my journey out of the darkness." Each chapter closes with a selected journal entry, foreshadowing and eventually merging with the narrative. Medford-Rosow (Inflection Point, 2015) and debut author Coughlin skillfully condense two decades into 33 easy-to-read vignettes about Coughlin's challenges, setbacks, and breakthroughs. This results in a multilayered account that works on several levels, offering granular details of the blindness experience, detailing the difference between physical sight and personal vision, and highlighting the redemptive power of healing. The authors convey Coughlin's spirituality and faith without being preachy, and they balance poignant moments with workaday complaints and unvarnished assessments of Coughlin's behavior and relationships. The patient delivery allows this truly exceptional story to speak for itself.
An emotional account of a remarkable personal odyssey.