Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease, an inner-ear condition with all sorts of fun symptoms like random vertigo attacks, nonstop ringing noise, and some hearing loss, all because of a fluid imbalance in my left ear. There's no cure, only half-assed treatment, and my level of hearing loss can vary from day to day.
For many, that's about 40 words too-long of an explanation. The only thing that matters to them is, "I'm sorry, sometimes I can't hear so well out of my one ear." and maybe a quick "Could you please speak up a little bit?" as well.
Most of the time, no one notices that I hold a phone to my right ear only, even when my hands are awkwardly full, or that when I'm sitting and talking with a person I lean in and toward the right a little. The most awkward part is when I'm walking alongside someone who is talking to me, and I have to consciously move to their left side so I can hear them on my right.
That's usually when the short explanation comes in, and I've only met two people in the last two years who were really interested in the long one during our first conversation. As far as most people are concerned, I'm perfectly healthy--they just have to watch themselves for mumbling around me, and if they forget I remind them as pleasantly as possible. It happens often enought that it would be kind of a waste to get frustrated about it.
So... I was rather thinking you and I are in the same boat. I know how it is to want to be sure someone is aware that there might be some problem, but generally we can do anything anyone else can do--proper warning versus assurance that any complication shouldn't be too serious. It's tough, and it seems to me that what people want to know is different everywhere.
In your case, maybe there would come an appropriate time in the interview to ask what kind of paperwork is regularly required for the position (I doubt you'd want to pore over detailed weekly reports or something of the like), and that may be a good time to admit that you've had some vision loss and can have a hard time with fine print. Or if it so happens that you close the bad eye and use the other to read documents, the interviewer may ask about that, or give you a funny look that means "What are you doing?" Then don't forget to assure the interviewer that you otherwise see just as much as most would.
Or not. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing, and maybe that would play it down too far. I guess having something very specific for a limitation helps--as for myself, I can only relate my nearsightedness, but actual loss of vision is a foreign concept, and I'm working on my best guesses here.
Heh, I'm rather certain, however, that most people don't take in even half of the detail in front of them, but that might be too cheeky a statement for a first interview. :P
As for me, I have a part time job in a quiet little lab that doesn't present a problem, but as a University student on a campus of 5000, I'm told that it is our own responsibility to find the disability services office to receive any special accomodations. Then it turns out that I haven't lost enough hearing to qualify for anything, so I get to suck it up and just sit at the front left side of every classroom.
I discovered pretty quick that it's better that way anyway. Participating in plain view is a pretty awesome boost. So I've become a rather firm believer in the 'suck it up' philosophy. You may get a pleasant surprise. For certain, you tend to learn something new about yourself or the world or both, when it seems like no one will give you a break.
In any case, I'm rooting for you. Good luck.
Keep Up with TechRepublic