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Robin Fernandez, 41

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Social media handles:

Instagram: @blatinagirlmagic


Where are you from? Milwaukee, WI


Where do you live now? Memphis, TN


Tell us a little about yourself:

I currently live and work in downtown Memphis and am a teacher of tiny humans! My 11-year-long career as an educator is what I am most proud of today. I am also currently a student, working on my doctorate of education in educational leadership and management at Drexel University online. I have a sweet pup, named Justin, and I am a huge Memphis Grizzlies basketball fan! I love to read and travel when I am not busy teaching or working on my dissertation. Some of the places I have been to are Budapest and Singapore, and I lived in Germany when I was a child.


What’s your eye story?

Robin wearing her prothetic eye.
Robin wearing her prothetic eye

I was born three months premature. The life-saving measures performed to keep me alive conjointly caused retinal detachments in both my eyes. As a result, I was left with full blindness in my left eye and nearsightedness in my right. As I grew up, a cataract began to develop in my left eye. Conversations were had with my parents about removing my eye, but it was never done. I endured years of special eye drops to help regulate pressure build-up but eventually outgrew it. The summer before I went into the 5th grade, I had surgery to prep my eye for the prosthesis I now wear. I would spend the next seven years with eyes that looked very different from my peers. Being perceived as “different” made me a common target for bullying, which contributed to my low self-esteem. Finally in 1998, when I was 17 years old, I had the opportunity to visit an ocularist. My grandmother was in town and joined my mother and me at the all-day appointment. When he was finished and placed the prosthesis over my eye, I cried tears of joy because for the first time ever, I had two normal-looking eyes! I remember handing him a letter explaining how much it meant to me to have him make my prosthesis. I remember my friends being so excited for me the next time they saw me too. It was such a life-changing experience.

What has been the most challenging mentally?

I still battle with self-esteem issues. To this day I do not think I am beautiful without my prosthesis. If for some reason I have to go out in public without it, I feel very self-conscious and will often be unable to make eye contact with others in an effort to avoid people from staring.

What has been the most challenging physically?

As I have gotten older, I have noticed that my left eye turns more outward than it did when I was younger. This will sometimes cause adults and children to look behind them, assuming I am looking at something else when I’m not. I have gotten more used to this, but it still feels awkward having to tell people that I am actually trying to look at them. I also deal with a lot more irritation and redness under the prosthesis, especially when the weather changes and my allergies flare up.

Where are you now in your recovery?

Every day is different. Unless I tell people, no one usually can tell I am blind in one eye or that my eye is a prosthesis. It definitely sparks interesting conversations with new people I meet! I still struggle with self-esteem and will only remove my prosthesis if I am truly comfortable with someone or if I know I won't be seen without it for long. I am also trying to do better about keeping it clean. My best friend keeps me honest and makes me remove it before we facetime.

What advice would you give to someone going through their eye impairment journey?

Be kind to yourself. Some days will be better than others. Ask questions. If something doesn't feel right, talk to your eye doctor and your ocularist. Pro-tip: Keep a shot glass on the bathroom counter to put your prosthesis in with some contact solution.

Who is your eye surgeon and ocularist?

My eye surgeon is unknown since I was so young.

My ocularist is Robert Thomas of Thomas in Memphis, TN

How did you find EYEHESIVE?

I found EYEHESIVE through a link from another Facebook user's video.

Are you attending the EYE CONNECT Virtual Conference?

I won't be able to attend this time, but maybe the next one!

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