Every person’s sight loss is unique. Everyone sees differently and experiences their own challenges, and people work to develop their own strategies and solutions for living fulfilled and happy lives with sight loss.
Often a key moment in developing these strategies for living with sight loss comes when people are able to meet others in similar situations. Managing Sight Loss courses provide this opportunity to bring people with sight loss, and their friends and family, together and share these varied strategies and insights. Often the most effective part of the whole two-day course is the sharing of personal experiences.
Below, Karen and Frank recount their experiences of both sight loss and the impact attending a Living with Sight Loss course has had on their confidence.
I’m Karen I lost a good chunk of my vision about five years ago. My condition is rare and I can never remember the name of it. I can see a bit but not the bit that I need to see. I’ll admit to being over 40. Before my sight loss, I had a good job that I enjoyed, working in social media. Unfortunately, once I started to lose quite a lot of vision, I struggled to work effectively in my role, and eventually lost my job.
Losing my job and feeling lost
I must admit that after losing my job the future looked pretty bleak. I don’t really know how I found out about the Managing Sight Loss course, but it was a happy accident. I took part in an in-person course, and no-one else on the course had the same eye condition as me, but many of the things they said rang true. It was good to know I wasn’t the only one wondering why I was so angry after losing my sight, and that lots of other people on the course asked themselves: why me?
Even simple things like knowing that other people on the course found themselves taking ages to complete simple tasks made me feel better about my own situation.
New opportunities through the course
The Managing Sight Loss course also gave me lots of information about other organisations in London working with people with sight loss. They put me in touch with Metro Blind Sport so now I’m back running and doing other crazy things and regularly meeting people like me who also want to do crazy things!
As well as reconnecting me with sport through Metro Blind Sport, the course also helped me learn simple ways to manage really boring everyday tasks like shopping, housework and making snacks. Finding out that my phone can talk was an eye opener (excuse the pun…), and I learnt about all the different apps available to help me manage my day to day life.
I really don’t know where I would be without the course. It was really important in helping me regain my confidence and I still use the things I learned on the course every day. I felt quite lost after losing my sight, and the course was the first step in being ‘me’ again.
I’m Frank. I’m nearly 82, and I’ve got Age Related Macular degeneration. I’d been having injections at the hospital for about two years, but until I met the ECLO (Eye Clinic Liaison Officer), I hadn’t really had much information about coping with my condition outside of having my injections.
The ECLO was able to give me lots of tips, and helped me certify as sight impaired, which meant I had a visit from a rehab worker from my sensory team. They were also really good telling me even more about the services available to me. In fact, I had so much information I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. They told me about courses that London Vision was running for people with sight loss and their families, and I decided to go along to one of the in-person sessions.
Friends and family can join
I could take my wife Freda along as well which was really good. I know my not seeing has been hard for her. I learnt on the course that I could apply for Attendance Allowance, and since doing so I have been much better off. Freda also learnt a few useful things about how to support me better too. And I learnt ways to do a bit more for myself, so I don’t always have to ask Freda for so much help.
After the course I’m now listening to audio books. I’ve got right back into my murder mystery. This means Freda’s got a bit more time to do what she wants to do.
Managing Sight Loss courses
In normal times (when there isn’t an ongoing pandemic) London Vision delivers free two-day courses for people with sight loss and their families and friends across London. Do you think a Managing Sight Loss course would benefit you or someone you know? You can find out more about these courses, and about upcoming ones, on this page or by getting in touch on 0203 761 3651. The continuing pandemic restrictions mean that this course is not being held in person at this time, but telephone/online Managing Sight Loss courses cover the same content of the two day in-person course. We look forward to hearing from you!