- mediated form of blindness, she invariably focuses on the positive.
Qudsiya Naqui: no obstacle too formidable in her experience with an RPE65-mediated form of blindness
When Qudsiya Naqui describes her experience with an RPE65-mediated form of blindness, she invariably focuses on the many things that have gone her way – how her mother’s training as a pediatrician led to a correct diagnosis at age two, earlier than many affected by this condition; how she passed the bar exam on the first attempt after graduating from Temple University Beasley School of Law; and how she now finds fulfilling work as a lawyer working to increase access to justice for immigrant children facing deportation in her role at a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization.
But Qudsiya’s journey has not been an easy one. She recalls being teased by other children as she was growing up, prompting her to move to a more supportive school. In high school she thrived in academics and ran track, but her social life was limited, in part because she could not drive. And despite her early and accurate diagnosis, her prognosis was not clear until she was a sophomore at Barnard College in New York City and began to experience headaches and a decline in her vision. It was only then that she learned that her vision would continue to deteriorate, and not remain steady as she had been told.
From that point forward, Qudsiya has gradually adapted her routines to accommodate her deteriorating vision. She moved from needing reading glasses and extra lighting to using screen reader software and audio books to keep pace with the rigorous workload of law school and the legal profession. These adaptations have allowed her to overcome an increasingly difficult series of obstacles, all the while remaining steadily focused on her ultimate goal. When she entered the legal profession, she opted not to be a litigator, but to use her legal training to implement policies that will ensure access to justice for immigrant youth.
Qudsiya is excited about the renewed energy around clinical research, but is also quick to point out that her vision loss substantially shaped the person and the professional she has become, and she views it as a fundamental and valuable aspect of who she is.
“I am excited that others in the future may have more choices, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience,” she said.