Love Island began its ninth season on Monday and this year marked the first time the show has cast a visually impaired contestant.

After years of the show not casting any disabled contestants, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Ron was in the Winter 2023 line up.

I think that the show is making a step in the right direction to becoming more disability inclusive.

After casting hard-of-hearing contestant Tasha Amber Ghouri last year, I did find myself wondering if someone like me with a visual impairment could be next.

Ron Hall, 25, marked the first time the show has ever cast a visually impaired person.

Ron lost his sight aged eight, due to a sporting injury, and is now blind in one eye as a result.

I’ve been visually impaired since birth due to a congenital condition known as Septo Optic Dysplasia leaving me with no sight in my right eye and central vision in my left.

I’ve had the condition from birth and growing up I rarely saw anyone with any degree of visual impairment represented on TV or in the media.

So, I’m really interested to see Love Island’s huge fan base react to having a visually impaired contestant on their screens.

One of my main hopes for this season of Love Island with the involvement of a visually impaired contestant is that it will start the conversation surrounding visual impairment.

I always say to people that sight loss is a spectrum, and it impacts people in different ways.

Some people may be able to read a book, whilst not being able to see street signs or far away objects, some people can see colours, and some can see nothing at all.

However, a lot of the time people don’t realise that, and this can lead to many problems.

Society seems to have this perception that you are either fully blind or sighted and there can’t be any grey areas, which simply isn’t the case.

The number of times I’ve been out using my phone only to hear someone say: “how is she using her phone when she’s got a guide dog?”

It’s a common misconception that people with visual impairments can’t use phones, so much so that a few years ago visually impaired people shared photos using their phones under the hashtag #BlindPeopleUsePhones.

So, I’ll very much enjoy seeing a visually impaired person on Love Island debunking that myth when he yells: “I’ve got a text!”

Additionally, I think that having a visually impaired person in a show that’s main topic is exploring relationships is myth debunking.

In the past I’ve been ghosted on dating apps and on some occasions completely blocked when people realise that I’m visually impaired.

It got to the point where I deleted them for good because I couldn’t deal with people’s social awkwardness having a negative effect on me.

So, I personally welcome any representation that may stop people from feeling socially awkward around visually impaired people like me when it comes to dating.

In short, I hope the show helps to “normalise” visually impaired people being normal.

I hope that viewers go into this experience with an open mind, and I hope viewers don’t perceive Ron’s abilities in a negative way.

Being visually impaired sometimes your ability to do things well or to be capable can be perceived by some as a sign that you are lying about your sight loss.

I’ve had comments when I’ve posted makeup videos or hair tutorials accusing me of lying about my disability because I’m able to do something that is typically perceived as a sighted activity.

One thing I will add is that Ron’s vision loss is one example of what it can be like to live with sight loss, some people have more sight than him and some will have less.

There may be things that Ron can do with his level of vision that I can’t, which is something I hope that viewers keep in mind when watching him over the next few weeks.

However, every experience of visual impairment and sight loss is valid and brings something unique to the table and as a visually impaired person I always want to actively encourage different perspectives.

These perspectives are how we will help society to grow and evolve to become more widely inclusive for people like me.

So, although Ron’s experience of sight loss won’t represent everyone’s, it still will represent some.

Ultimately, I hope the show helps to make people aware of the different types of people with live with different levels of sight loss who would normally go under the radar of mainstream media.

Either way, I’ll be watching the show every night to see how he and the other contestants get on.