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How eyes see it

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is doing a campaign of social medial outreach. There will be a ‘blindfold challenge’ where individuals affected by retinal degenerative diseases are paired with celebrities. The aim is to show the difficulties of living with vision impairment or loss.

This is an excellent idea.  None of us realises what it is like to live with visual impairment.  Often the individual has had a visual impairment, or loss, since early childhood.  To them it is normal. They have developed their senses to the best and used computers to have normal jobs. They live in the community just like the rest of us who do not have a visual impairment or visual loss. Yet, we don’t always embrace them and view their visual impairment as a barrier.

Did you realise that by the year 2050 there will be 5 billion short-sighted myopic people?

20% of them are in the high myopia category and will have a visual impairment.

Did you realise that already inherited retinal disease is the main cause of visual impairment in otherwise healthy adults in developed countries?

The inherited retinal diseases include eye diseases such as

  • retinitis pigmentosa
  • Stargardt’s disease
  • chromatopsia
  • cone dystrophies
  • cone-rod dystrophies
  • macular dystrophies
  • choroideremia
  • metabolic diseases

I am delighted that the Foundation Fighting Blindness is launching a retinal disease awareness campaign. Their aim is to encourage the public to learn more about retinal degenerative diseases.  This is an American website, but its message is valid for the UK and Europe.  The Foundation Fighting Blindness is particularly helpful for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. They are also supporting research with clinical trials. In the UK, the main retinal charities are: RP Fighting Blindness works hard to stimulate and fund eye research. Their goal is to find a treatment and cure for RP and to support those affected. Professor Michel Michaelides from the Institute of Ophthalmology and Clinica London is currently researching hereditary retinal diseases.

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