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Lola from Greenwich Millennium Village, London

Lola’s Story

I found my eyesight deteriorating when I reached my late 40’s. I knew something was wrong but thought that my prescription for spectacles needed to be changed more regularly until one optician queried my visual field test. He made me sit through the long test a second time, finally sending me to see a specialist at Blackheath hospital London. Further tests were taken, resulting in the specialist saying that I had some form of macular degeneration (which was true) but that he had no idea exactly what was wrong or why. My husband and I went to the Royal Free Hospital in Liverpool. We got the same diagnosis from David Wong who thought it might be linked with my racial origins. Eventually my optician Suma Karsten in Blackheath sent me to Prof. Bird at Moorfields eye hospital in London and after extensive tests he diagnosed Stargardt’s.

That was in October 2004. He has asked me to visit annually to check progress, however I may need to see him again soon. On Christmas Eve 2004 the DVLA revoked my driving license and that came as a huge blow to a 52 year old independent, married, working mother. The deterioration has been rapid and I am hoping that it will level out soon. Day light lamps and enormous keyboard stickers are helpful (from the Royal Institute for the Blind), unlike my emotional ups and downs, which are very unpredictable. One step at a time. I may have to go to a counsellor if this overwhelming depression kicks in too often. I am grateful that unlike many of the cases I’ve read here my deterioration started later on in my life. Even so it is still incredibly difficult to come to terms with.