LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Contrary to what many people might think, people don't actually have to be able to see to play musical instruments.
Lakewood Ranch High School senior Tyler Collins was diagnosed with bilateral optic nerve hypoplasia, which means his optic nerve never fully developed before he was born and still hasn't developed so his vision is impaired in both eyes.
In most cases there is no known cause of bilateral optic nerve hypoplasia. All races and socioeconomic groups seem to be affected by the disease, according to information from the Blind Ba
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Regardless of his condition, Collins plays piano masterfully. He plays the music by listening to it and then finding the right notes.
"My other senses are stronger. It's like they're compensating for my not being able to see," Collins said.
It has been said when people lose one of their senses, the others become stronger. Feeling the keys and hearing the music are the only ways Collins said he can make sure the song is correct.
Collins is involved in the LRHS chorus program, which is difficult at time considering most chorus students have to sight-read at some point during the course.
Collins may have what some consider a disability, but he doesn't let it show in his personality. It's almost like he doesn't have impaired vision, friends and teachers say, and he is one of the nicest people you will meet -- genuine all around.
They note while some people who have the same condition may let it ruin their lives and not even attempt activities such as keyboard and chorus, Tyler does not let that stop him from doing what he likes to do.