The Good Stuff: Love before first sight

The Good Stuff: Love before first sight

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - It’s a love story few likely saw coming — even the husband and wife who married a little over six years ago.

"I was just listening to her voice," says 32-year-old Tony Jones, an employee with L.A.B. Printing and Supply.

"Her voice sounded so good," he continues, talking about the first time he laid eyes on his future wife, Cigale Rivers, who is a receptionist at L.A.B.

Strangely enough, Tony never really saw Cigale River's face before first asking her out, or marrying her.

But that’s because of his vision impairment — a hereditary macular degeneration diagnosis that has worsened through the years.

"Without these," says Tony, while showing how his bioptic telescopic eyeglasses work, "I see a shadow."

32-year-old Tony Jones, a visually impaired employee with L.A.B. Printing and Supply
32-year-old Tony Jones, a visually impaired employee with L.A.B. Printing and Supply (Source: KSLA)

Two years ago, Tony was given the glasses to better assist him on the job by L.A.B., Louisiana Association for the Blind, a non-profit which also operates a series of print shops to employ and train many of our state's visually impaired, or blind residents.

Before coming to work at L.A.B. eight years ago, Tony says he long struggled to find a job due to his vision issues.

"On applications, you have to put down what kind of problems or disability you have. I did that, but it seemed like they didn't want to hire you," explains Tony.

80 percent of L.A.B.'s workforce is visually impaired, and that includes Tony's wife, Cigale, who is totally blind.

"He was shy at first, he never talked," remembers Cigale, the day Tony first talked to her while the two were attending an orientation and mobility class at L.A.B.'s Low Vision Center next door.

Cigale Rivers is a visually impaired employee with L.A.B. Printing and Supply
Cigale Rivers is a visually impaired employee with L.A.B. Printing and Supply (Source: KSLA)

And it was over 6 years after they married in 2013 before Tony every really got a good look at his wife after gaining use of those bioptic eyeglasses.

"When I zoomed in, I was like, 'Really'?", says Tony.

"It was just amazing," smiles Tony when explaining what it was like to see Cigale for the first time.

“When I saw her, I told her, ‘You’re just beautiful’.”

There is a strong medical chance that Tony’s macular degeneration will eventually cost him his vision. Cigale lost her vision after turning 21 years old.

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