A reader writes:
I am legally blind, but it rarely hinders my ability to do most things (except for more dynamic things like driving and playing basketball). For most other things, I can use common tools like the "Zoom" options on most computer programs and simple handheld reading magnifiers, and I'll be just fine.
Ideally, I would like to just keep my disability a secret in an interview, but I also have a condition called nystagmus which causes my eyes to move involuntarily from side to side, especially when I'm nervous or in an unfamiliar setting.
My concern is that, if I don't explain this to an interviewer, they might think I'm crazy or on drugs or something. But, if I do explain, it will open doors for discrimination and under-estimation of my abilities.
Some approaches I have considered are just not saying anything about it or explaining that I have a visual condition but that it is not severe and I can accommodate for it with magnifiers, etc. -- much like a near-sighted employee who wears glasses.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
If the choice is between an employer thinking that you're crazy or on drugs, or risking discrimination by explaining, I'd risk discrimination. Being thought crazy or on drugs will disqualify you every single time. Explaining gives you a good shot, and plenty of employers don't discriminate. (Some do, of course, but your math is still better with explaining.)
I think the best thing to do is to be low-key about it, and after your interview is scheduled, say, "By the way, could you explain to whoever I'm meeting with that I have a condition that affects my eyes? New people notice it when talking with me face to face, but I accommodate it pretty easily with magnifiers and people generally don't even notice it after we get to know each other."
Anyone else want to weigh in?