Interview with Apl de Ap
Education and Advocacy Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas shares his thoughts on the importance of getting your vision checked and learning to work with your impairments to live the best life possible.
Mediaplanet spoke with apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas about the importance of health literacy for vision impairment.
Mediaplanet: What kind of vision impairment do you have?
Apl.De.Ap: I have a condition called nystagmus, which is essentially an involuntary vibration of the eyes. I’ve had it my whole life.
MP: Why do you think people don’t prioritize getting their vision checked?
ADA: In general, people aren’t proactive about their health issues. We don’t go to the doctor’s until we have to. The same thing happens with our vision health. We really should check it. Some of these issues only get worse and could be fixed if caught early enough.
MP: How important is health literacy when it comes to vision care?
ADA: It’s extremely important — no one knows about your vision problems but you. If something seems blurry and incorrect, seek help because it may be a sign of a greater issue.
MP: What would you say to others living with vision impairment?
ADA: Learn to work with your impairment — it shouldn’t be an excuse to keep you from achieving your dreams. Great people with vision problems have done great things before and honestly, there have never been as many tools or as much technology available to help the visually impaired. It’s extremely important to have your eyes checked immediately and often.
MP: You’ve done quite a bit to raise awareness on vision health through your Apl.de.ap Foundation. Can you expand on your initiatives?
ADA: My foundation donated a retinal camera to the southernmost part of the Philippines to help diagnose retinopathy of prematurity in infants, which has to be diagnosed within the first 48 hours to be treated. Before this, the only machines in the country that were available were in central Manila, and if you know anything about transport in the Philippines, you know it’s next to impossible to get a newborn infant to Manila that quickly. I plan on donating a couple more machines through my foundation in other regions of the country to provide as much access as possible.
MP: What’s next for you?
ADA: The Black Eyed Peas are putting out our first album in seven years on Oct. 12th! This is the longest we’ve ever been on hiatus, but sometimes life gets in the way. We’ve done a lot of maturing and a lot of growing up since then, and we’re excited about this next album. We’ve returned to producing the kind of music that made us fall in love with music, in the first place.