Imagine, just for a few minutes, what it would be like to lose your sight. Maybe not all at once, but gradually, over time.
Imagine that one day, you realise you’ve stopped being able to see those things in your peripheral vision. You might not realise it until you’re driving on the motorway and that car to your right has just disappeared and then reappeared from nowhere.
You realise that you’ve lost sight of those things you could previously see out of the corner of your eye. But now they’re gone.
On Saturday, Wardale Williams organised a Blind Walk, with Ipswich Lions Club, to highlight the obstacles faced by those with vision impairment. I agreed to take part and raise awareness of the importance of testing for glaucoma.
Along with Store manager, Amanda Skinner, dispensing optician, Katie Belsey, Optometrist Will Norman, local Sixth Form Students, Cameron Hathaway and Temar Habtezghi, and Roger & Margaret Conway from Ipswich Lions, we walked, with partners from their shop in Gainsborough Street up Market Hill to St Peter’s Church and down through the market. However, one of us was completely blindfolded and assisted by a partner. I was chosen to be blindfolded and given a white stick to assist me. Katie was responsible for telling me where I was, where there was a kerb and when I might bump into a lamppost or another person. It’s quite unsettling.
I was blindfolded for no more than 30 minutes but it was the most uncomfortable of sensations. I knew it wasn’t real, yet I was completely dependent on another person for my sight. Your other senses are immediately heightened; I was very aware of other sounds and smells. Being market day, there was a bit of a sensory overload!
After my walk, I popped into see Gary Page, owner of Era Fashions on North Street. If you’ve not been, do pop in. It’s a great shop. Gary was diagnosed with glaucoma a few years ago. He realised something was wrong when he experienced the disappearing car phenomenon I mentioned earlier. His condition is stable for the moment and he has regular quarterly check ups & eye MOTs, to make sure all is in order.
I asked him what it was like to lose your peripheral vision. He says it’s something you don’t even realise it happening. Your brain has a way of compensating for this loss of sight. It’s not until it’s too late, that it’s gone.
Glaucoma effects over 500,000 people here in the UK and Ireland, yet it’s easily diagnosed and although not curable, can certainly be very well controlled.
Will Norman, Wardale Williams Optometrist spent Saturday morning doing free pressure tests (a sign of Glaucoma is an increase in eye pressure, a test can highlight any potential risks) and it takes just a few minutes to be tested. It’s completely pain free – just a short puff of air into the eye and that’s it.
I can’t stress how important it is to get your eyes regularly tested. An early diagnosis for glaucoma and other conditions can make a big difference to your life and sight if caught early.
Give Wardale Williams a call. They take NHS patients as well as private.
Member since: 17th March 2014
Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens
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