Claire: Making New Connections and Gaining New Experiences After a Sight Loss Diagnosis

In January 2021 Claire went for a routine eye test. Her optician noticed that she had a cataract growing and referred her to the Eye Hospital, however, her referral was delayed by nearly a year due to the pandemic.

By the time she received her diagnosis of Angle Closure Glaucoma, the disease was already at an advanced stage in her right eye. Her left eye was in a better condition, but her sight has continued to deteriorate. “I have very little peripheral vision, some central vision loss in my left eye, but I can still see, and see enough to sew because my central vision is still pretty good in my left eye,” said Claire.

Initially it really knocked Claire’s confidence, she said. “I had to give up driving which made me rely on my husband to take me to places. I’ve always been a very independent woman and I miss the spontaneity of being able to just get into the car and go somewhere. “

After receiving her diagnosis, Claire said, “I decided to face my journey positively.” She is a nurse by background, so she is very resourceful and has excellent knowledge of the healthcare world. She contacted various sight-loss organisations, and met Devante, our Community Engagement Worker at a Glaucoma UK event held at our centre. Claire and Devante talked about the various kinds of support available, as well as local support groups at MyVision Oxfordshire. “I was very keen on finding something local and face-to-face to meet other people in similar situations,” said Claire.

After the event Devante contacted Claire about a MyVision social group near her in Didcot and she has been going regularly ever since. She has since joined our walking group, and our well-being group.

“The MyVision groups are all about being positive. It’s a great group of people, and the events are quite fun as well! An event I really enjoyed was a Bowls Day at Thame; I’ve never played bowls before, but it was really good fun, and I met a lot of different people.”

Claire has found joining the well-being group (where we make crafts and various hands-on projects which is then coupled with mindfulness sessions) to be a very fulfilling experience. “I already do a lot of crafts; anything craft related, I’m your person but for many people these sessions give the opportunity to do things that they may not normally do with sight loss. Then you also have the mindfulness part of it which I think is very important when you’re living with long-term health conditions. It’s invaluable to me, that group. I’m really sad if I can’t make it.”

Claire sitting on a rock with green grass in the background. She is smiling and knitting.

The social groups have provided Claire with the opportunity to share her experiences with other people, and she has learned from others in the group by hearing about their experiences. Building these connections with other people has been vital to Claire.  “The big lesson for me was how visual impairment is a spectrum. I spent a lot of time feeling like I was a bit of an impostor because I have central vision; the whole idea that I can still see while others can’t, but it’s been important to learn how visual impairment affects everyone differently and in different ways.”

Claire’s advice to people who get diagnosed with a visual impairment and find themselves in a similar position to hers is, “find as much info as you can and reach out and join things. The biggest turning point for me was after I did a lot of research, educated myself, and after I reached out to sight loss organisations for support. You don’t have to go to groups to do that. It can even just be a Facebook group, just as long as you’re not alone.”

We have been very happy to provide that support and connection for Claire. “MyVision been extremely positive,” she said. “It’s given me access locally, and the group events have been very important to me. I find it really reassuring and I think it’s nice to be with other people who have sight impairment who you can share stories with.”

If you would like to share your story, get in touch at or 01865 725595.

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MyVision Oxfordshire is registered as a charity in England and Wales No.1140556 and as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales No. 07465300.