A MORPETH resident shared her dramatic experience of blindness with guests at a House of Lords reception.
Talking to an audience of local authority commissioners and health service professionals, Joyce Anderson was one of 10 blind and partially sighted people invited to attend the high-profile function.
It was hosted by Lord Trefgarne, Lord Low, Lord Holmes and Action for Blind People.
Mrs Anderson lost her sight five years ago due to late-onset retinal deterioration. She received support from an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at a facility in Newcastle and with that person’s help, she was able to attend numerous courses including Finding Your Feet, which is designed to restore people’s confidence and help them adjust to sight loss.
She said: “Imagine being told you are losing your eyesight. You walk out of the eye clinic in a panic. Will you be able to continue driving? Will you lose your job? Will you be able to find your way around your own home anymore?
“These are devastating, confidence sapping questions – made worse when there’s no-one to provide help and advice.
“I was asked by Action for Blind People (a national charity) to share my experience with guests at the reception, showing that through a service provided by ECLOs, guidance can be made available to help you adjust to the life-changing news that you are losing your sight.”
The ECLO also introduced the 68-year-old to a society for the blind, where she was taught how to touch type and trained in delivering Vision Awareness Training.
Equipped with these new skills, Mrs Anderson and four colleagues started their own Community Interest Company. It gives vision awareness training to local organisations.