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Macular week 2022: Jeanette

Jeanette was diagnosed with macular degeneration in August 2021. She’d been having problems with her vision for about 6 months and often felt dizzy and had headaches. She’d visited the optician three times but nothing was helping. Her optician confirmed that her glasses were the correct prescription, but Jeanette felt there was something just not quite right. Then one morning she woke up and couldn’t read or see what she was writing.

Jeanette’s GP sent her to the eye department at Gartnavel hospital in Glasgow. There, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration and was told that her central vision could be gone by Christmas. She got an injection, which did help, but she was still unable to see details.

Jeanette was upset and worried following her diagnosis. Her consultant recognised that she would benefit from some additional support and introduced her to Visibility Scotland’s Patient Support Worker, Lianne. Jeanette spent an hour with Lianne who provided emotional support and advice. Lianne discussed the different aids, equipment and services available to help and Jeanette started to realise that whatever changes were to come, with the right support, she would be able to cope with them.

Lianne gave Janette the number for her local sensory impairment team and referred her to the welfare rights team at Deafblind Scotland for help to apply for benefits. Lianne also told Janette about Visibility Scotland’s three-week ‘Positive Outlook’ course, which Janette was keen to join.

The ‘Positive Outlook’ course took place over the phone and gave Jeanette the chance to learn more about living well with sight loss. The other participants on the call were in similar situations and Jeanette took comfort from their advice, funny stories and encouragement.

Jeanette contacted her local sensory impairment team who sent her some basic aids and added her to the waiting list for an assessment. Jeanette remembers the day her small white symbol cane arrived in the post. She uses it to make other people aware that she might need a bit of extra help and carries it everywhere she goes. It gives her more confidence and a sense of freedom.

Jeanette now has the confidence to travel independently. She’s getting good on the Glasgow buses and even ventured on a coach trip to the Lake District after lockdown!

Jeanette had a long career in midwifery, and was also a ballroom dancing teacher. She’s decided not to let her macular degeneration hold her back from living a full and active life. Jeanette told us her mantra is ‘There’s nothing that I can’t do. Try it first, and see what’s possible’.

Jeanette is delighted with the support she’s received from Visibility Scotland. In turn, we’re grateful for her positivity and the encouragement that she brings to others in our groups. ‘You are my stars.’ she says, ‘I don’t think I would have managed any of this without you’.

Image of Natasha Johnston
Written by: Natasha Johnston

Posted on the: June 20, 2022
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