Getting a better view of life

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Winsome Ennis, guide dog Sunny and Dr Sarah Janikoun

People who struggle to see the world around them, even with glasses or contact lenses, are invited to try out hi-tech visual aids at St Thomas' Hospital's Low Vision Day on Saturday 24 October, 10am to 2pm in Shepherd Hall.

More than 1,000 people are registered with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Low Vision Clinic which supports people who cannot see well enough, despite surgery, medicine or glasses. Their poor eyesight is usually the result of an underlying condition such as diabetes or glaucoma. Around 2 million people in the UK have a significant vision loss that prevents them from carrying out everyday tasks.

Winsome Ennis from Brixton became visually impaired in 2005 after a car accident. She says: “It took me a while to realise my sight had been affected. At first I had a slight headache but my head had been shaken up badly and in fact I’d had a stroke, which led to optical damage. I can’t see anything on my left side. Sometimes I pick up shadows or bright colours.”

Winsome, who is registered blind, is a member of the Low Vision Clinic’s VIP Singers, a choir for people with visual impairment. The clinic also runs workshops three times a year giving people with poor sight advice on issues such as eye disease, treatments and guide dog mobility training.
At the workshops Winsome gives fellow patients information on visual aids available, from magnifiers to talking books. She says: “Anyone who has had a sudden life changing experience needs to know that the world hasn’t ended, it’s just changed. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be tech savvy. We can all learn from each other and talk about what’s out there to help make life a little easier.”

Dr Sarah Janikoun, associate specialist for ophthalmology, says: “Having low vision can have a huge impact on people’s lives. These are people who can’t see well enough to get to the end of the path or even leave the house. They can't cook because they are not able to see the temperature on the oven and burn themselves because they can't tell whether the gas is on or off.
“We’re holding our ninth Low Vision Day at St Thomas’ because we want people to know that there is support available and technology can improve the quality of your life.”
For more information contact the Low Vision Clinic on 020 7188 4569.

Last updated: October 2015

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