When Alicia Connor was 17 and driving, she discovered she had a hard time seeing highway signs. Recognizing this could be an issue, she went to an optometrist, where they recommended a pair of glasses. It was not until two years later when Alicia was finally diagnosed with hypoplasia of the optic nerve – after another optometrist visit and appointment with the Rhode Island Eye Institute. This condition leads to declining vision loss. By age 27, she was legally blind.
Alicia recognizes that while vision loss can be challenging, it’s best to take each experience day to day. With that mantra, she strives to have a growth-minded focus and practice patience with herself and others.
Growing up as a picky eater, Alicia enjoyed being in control of cooking her own food, which led to Alicia’s first career as a cook and chef. She worked at a bed and breakfast and in restaurants, where she realized that she was not interested in owning her own restaurant or working late nights. When her vision loss continued to decline, she decided to investigate education options associated with food services. She decided on the nutrition field, which was a natural fit for her desire to help other people discover “the magic” of cooking at home.
To pursue this career, Alicia earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s in dietetics. She now serves as a registered dietitian, where she works with clients one-on-one to help them improve their health to manage existing chronic diseases and reduce future risk for chronic disease. Since vision loss can be a symptom or side effect of a health condition, Alicia emphasizes the potential of profound impacts that may be found by focusing on health. Her specialty is behavior change of clients, where she breaks down the idea of health from a large, daunting concept into actionable steps through meal plans. Additionally, she works with clients to identify stress reduction strategies and ways to incorporate sustainable, fun exercises. In her desire to make healthy meals accessible, she created a YouTube Channel called Quick & Delish with Alicia Connor.
In her work, she mainly relies on screen magnification, but also uses Dream Reader and Dream Scanner phone apps. Outside of her work with clients, including virtual workshops and presentations, Alicia enjoys creating new recipes, listening to audiobooks, spending time in nature, and riding one of her three bikes. She hopes that individuals new to vision loss continue to have fun and be social to keep one’s vision impairment from “driving you into the rabbit hole of despair.”
Last updated July 2021