Let me explain: I've been living with retrolental fibroplasia (now known by the more benign, over-arching term retinopathy of prematurity) since I came into the world four months too early.
It's a condition I've lived with all my life and has left me all but blind in my right eye with my severely short-sighted left eye having to make the best out of a bad job.
I have no depth perception, no 3D vision, almost no face recognition or visual memory and, as I get older, my sight continues to deteriorate. I wear glasses or a contact lens to try and compensate and use a long white cane (nicknamed the Sightsaber) to get around. I'm also registered partially sighted and have two pairs of reading glasses, but even then still end up with eye-strain headaches.
I'll be honest: my disability does affect me and how I do my job, there's no working around that. While I am open about it, many PRs are surprised when they first met me in person and their eyes flick to my cane and sometimes stay there.
When I studied to be a journalist at Harlow College, I originally did a NTCJ pre-entry certificate in newspaper journalism, but as I went through the course, I started to realise I was going to face a few problems.
First off was the ability to drive, but, more importantly, was the insistence on shorthand: I can do Teeline to about 50 words per minute, but the problem comes with complex forms. In order to see them I need to do them much larger than everyone else, which of course takes up more time.
While I was studying my tutors were more concerned about how it would affect me than I was. Yet it did make me start to realise some of my limitations, like shorthand and staring at a PC monitor all day.
At the same time, I began to realise the reason why I couldn't remember names was not because of my memory, but rather because I couldn't make out who I was talking to. I spent the whole six-month course trying to differentiate between two of the male students who were the same height and had the same colour hair - they didn't get it.
So upon completing the course I decided my future lay in magazines mainly due to the fact you sit in an office, have four week cycles and no one seems to care about shorthand. Eventually, I decided to go freelance and have been doing it ever since.
But it was only when I went freelance that I started to figure out exactly how my experience differed from my colleagues. I've had good experiences and I've had some pretty shocking ones too.
Prime among them is the accursed group interview.
This normally involves me, several very important Japanese gentlemen [I specialise in reporting on Japanese culture, anime and manga] and a single translator. That is my nightmare. I can't see who is speaking and people don't always have distinguishing characteristics, added to the fact that there's one translator speaking for both of them.
Here was me thinking it was embarrassing enough having to ask these developers and directors who they are and what they do, not because of my own ignorance, but because I don't recognise them. I have to mark each person that's speaking as L for left and R for right. Each time someone speaks I note it down in an effort to attribute quotes to the right person. It's not an ideal system, but it sort of works.
When it comes to pitches, I don't think I've ever had to give one up because of my eyesight; I'm stubborn like that and seldom let anything beat me.
But the shift to technologically-enhanced journalism is, to be honest, a godsend. I can find where events are being held in a heartbeat and communicating with editors via email and IM is fantastic - the same can be said for Twitter. While I enjoy attending events, being able to access my email and GPS on my iPhone means I basically have a computer out of the office.
Perhaps the most startling thing is the amount of help and support available, even if a lot of it is only discovered once a blind or visually impaired person (or VIP) is registered. Access to Work is great when you need specialist equipment and software. It deals with every kind of disability going, not just visual ones any anyone can apply, registered or not.
As well as the indispensable disabled bus pass, there's a Disabled Person’s Railcard which takes a chunk out of travelling to London. When I do have to use the London Underground, go to a station or wander around an airport, it's very easy to get assistance from staff.
Editors themselves are pretty good about it. I get the odd 'so how do you review games then?' My answer: 'just like you', but for the most part my lack of vision has nothing to do with my ability to turn around copy on time, or earlier.
The thing is, apart from driving round assault courses, I can do everything any other journalist can.
Sight or lack of it (or any other kind of disability) doesn't prevent someone doing this job. Of all the careers you can pick, freelancing is the most versatile and adaptable, as well as the most satisfying.
Lesley Smith is a freelance journalist specialising in Japanese culture, anime and manga, technology and gaming. Her blog can be found at www.throughtheeyesofajournalist.com.