“My prognosis didn’t look good,” Lloyd recalls with a chuckle.
As it turns out, Lloyd had something else altogether. He’d been born with a genetic condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that eats away at the retina, specifically targeting those cells that detect light. Once these cells die, the eyes can’t transform and decode the incoming light in order to produce sight.
Lloyd’s condition worsened very slowly. Though his night vision wasn’t great, he doesn’t recall having other difficulties at first. He transitioned into biochemistry research at Stanford, then moved on to be a software engineer. When his loss of vision began to make coding on a computer screen too difficult — there were no aids for visually impaired programmers back then, he says — he decided to try law school. With the help of two readers, Lloyd passed the bar and started practicing law in 1982. At the time, he had very limited vision.