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Hana Islam told she’s too good looking to be disabled


A woman has spoken out after being constantly told she’s too good looking to be blind.

Hana Islam says no one will ever believe she’s disabled because she’s so glamorous.

She is registered as partially-sighted, suffering from a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s disease, which leaves her with slight peripheral vision in each eye.

Hana Islam, 25, is registered as partially-sighted (Picture: Hana Islam/Triangle News)

As a woman who loves makeup and fashion, she says people often assume she can’t be physically disabled.

The 25-year-old psychiatric nurse always books special assistance when flying abroad as she needs someone to ensure she makes it onto the plane.

But while travelling to Switzerland earlier this year, she overheard the air stewards discussing whether she was really disabled as she looked ‘too glam’.

And on another journey, Hana says an assistant at Gatwick Airport asked how she had applied her makeup so well if she couldn’t see properly.

She is also constantly quizzed by suspicious train inspectors who wonder why she has a disabled pass.

Hana Islam recently married her childhood sweetheart (Picture: S2 Images)

Hana, who studied fashion at university, says she often feels like she has to justify her condition to strangers.

She now wants to raise awareness about invisible conditions and challenge ‘depressing’ attitudes surrounding disability.

She said: ‘I think people must think I’m trying to cut the queue or something.

‘I think my look has something to do with it. It’s almost the case that if you’re disabled, people don’t expect you to dress well.

‘I’ve been asked more than once how I wear makeup if I’m visually impaired but actually being visually impaired doesn’t mean you can’t do things like that.

Hana Islam, 25, suffers from Stargardt’s disease (Picture: Hana Islam/Triangle News)

‘I can do my makeup easily because I can get very close to the mirror.

‘It’s reached a point where I feel like I should dress down when travelling.

‘I have to constantly prove myself and it can be really, really depressing.

‘When I travelled to Switzerland alone recently, the airport worker said she was surprised to see that I didn’t have a cane and dark glasses.

‘But lots of visually impaired people, including me, don’t need them.’

Hana studied fashion at university (Picture: Hana Islam/Triangle News)

Hana, who lives in Harrow, north-west London, was diagnosed with the condition when she was 14 but hid it for years over fears of being misunderstood.

She said: ‘I’d never needed glasses or anything before. All of a sudden, literally overnight, my vision went downhill.

‘I suddenly couldn’t see the board and needed to enlarge my text on the computer.

‘I massively struggled to come to terms with it as the school didn’t know how to support me.

‘I’ve always been independent and didn’t want to admit I needed help for a while.

‘Now I’m on the borderline of being registered legally blind but I’m not there yet so I’m hoping for a cure before then.

‘I tried to hide it for a long time but actually why can’t I be open about it?’

Sophie Castell, director of relationships at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), praised Hana for speaking out.

She said: ‘We hear of stories like Hana’s all too often where people are told that they ‘don’t look blind’ or face prejudice and discrimination.

‘At RNIB, we urge everyone to see the person, not the sight loss, so that blind and partially sighted people are valued for who they are, not defined by the disabilities they have.’





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