Sue started having trouble with her vision when she lost sight in one eye in 2001. Three years later, she had lost sight in both eyes.
Sue was an English teacher and lost her sight just one year before she was due to retire.
It happened over a few weeks while I was at work. I woke up in the morning and had a black spot in my eye. I knew from experience that it wasn’t a good sign. I made an appointment to see my consultant after school and from that appointment on did not drive again or return to work. My world fell apart. I was told I had macular degeneration and a very rare eye condition.”
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. It’s the most common cause of sight loss in people over 60.
I was registered as blind and all of a sudden I had to stop doing the things I loved, things that I had done all my life. I had to stop teaching, stop driving, stop going to the theatre… It was devastating. It’s such as shock. You have no idea what’s going to happen. Life just stops.”
How RNIB helps Sue
I didn’t want to go out because I was too scared of everything. The world isn’t designed for people who can’t see. I was really looking forward to retirement. We had plans to travel and go abroad more. But I knew I’d never be able to do those things. It wasn’t long before I joined the Talking Book Service. Being able to read was one of my highest priorities. I have always been an avid reader and I’ve spent many years teaching children to read. Just the thought of not being able to read again was totally devastating.
So, getting hold of Talking Books was truly a lifeline for me, especially in the early days when I was getting used to the idea of being blind, trying to find a new life and new routines. The Talking Book Service was the first thing that made me feel that I was back in the land of the living. I just find books and reading so relaxing. They fire your imagination and enable you to experience different emotions, places and give you an insight into other people’s lives. Books are a source of information and enjoyment.
The Talking Book Service gives me everything I would get out of a print book. You are always learning something new whilst you are following a tale. I like to be able to read what everyone else is reading. Part of the fun of books is to chat about them with friends. I think it’s terrible that so few books are made in formats that blind and partially sighted people can read. It’s disheartening to know that there are so many books in print that I will never be able to read, simply because they aren’t available in alternative formats.”
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