Blindness Changes 'Saved by the Bell' Star's View of Life

Isaac Lidsky has led an extraordinary life – but he claims that of all the amazing experiences along his path, “In many ways, one of the greatest things that ever happened to me was going blind.”

Isaac had a career as a child actor, culminating when he landed the role of Barton "Weasel" Wyzell on “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” -- he calls it “a lifechanging experience.” He went on to study math and computer science at Harvard, graduating at age 19, then law school, after which he clerked for two Supreme Court justices.

Now Issac’s married to “the most amazing woman” and has four gorgeous kids. He’s also blind. At age 13 he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. “The doctor said, ‘You will go blind. There are no cures, and we don’t know much about the disease. Good luck!’”

Watch: Adapting to Blindness

Isaac was terrified. “I knew going blind would ruin my life.” The disease progressed gradually as he lost more and more areas of his field of vision. He had lost his sight entirely by age 23.

Things changed when he met with a low-vision rehabilitation specialist. She was completely focused on practical solutions he could use to navigate life without vision, and he realized, “Everything I thought I knew about blindness was a fiction born of my fears. I was so busy worrying about some awful future that I wasn’t taking care of the moment, now. There only is now, today, this moment, and I chose to take control of my reality.”

“How could you take something that would so obviously be a negative – going blind – and you flipped it, you made it a positive?” wonders ER Physician DR. Travis Stork. “I lost my sight, but I gained an empowering vision,” Isaac responded. Blindness prompted him to realize that he could choose how to live and who to be: “I chose to live a blessed life.”

Watch: Blind Bucket List

He was inspired to write a book, “Eyes Wide Open.” He says, “It’s not about disabilities per se. Anyone will face challenges, struggles, regrets. Anyone can see what I see, and I hope many will.”

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disease but both of Isaac’s parents were recessive carriers – he had no idea he was at risk until he developed symptoms. Anyone developing “tunnel vision” or other symptoms of vision should see a doctor.

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