Adrian was just 30 years old when he was registered blind.
He was born and grew up in High Wycombe before moving to Aylesbury with his wife 5 years ago. He is a window maker by trade.
Adrian first noticed his eyesight deteriorating when he was at work looking for his tools on the bench. He couldn’t distinguish between them despite his colleagues telling him that what he needed was right in front of him. Although his workplace was extremely supportive by putting measures in place to help, it got to a point where it was becoming too dangerous, and Adrian had to give it up.
“I’ve had to give up my work - my livelihood. It’s been financially stressful and it’s left me in a no man’s land worrying about finance mentally.”
It was during Covid when he started bumping into cupboards etc. He laughed it off as him being clumsy but his wife suggested he should get his eyes tested.
He went for an eye test which included a visual field test which tests your peripheral vision. Adrian didn’t even realise that the test had started as he couldn’t see any of the dots on the screen. He was referred urgently to hospital where they carried out further tests. Because of Covid a year passed and Adrian assumed no news was good news. Eventually he was called to the hospital to get his results and was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP is a genetic disorder of the eyes that causes loss of vision. Symptoms include trouble seeing at night and decreasing peripheral vision (side and upper or lower visual field). As peripheral vision worsens, people may experience "tunnel vision". Adrian suffers with tunnel vision which he describes as, ‘the edges closing in’ with the middle being ‘blurry’.
The hospital registered him as severely sight impaired on the spot in January 2023. “It was a big shock. I had started bumping into things in 2021. At first I just thought I was being a bit clumsy but eventually I knew something was wrong. I thought I was losing my mind after waiting a year for the results.”
His biggest challenges have been coming to terms with his diagnosis and his future. He lives on a top floor flat which has been a real challenge as he struggles with the stairs. It is also difficult getting out and about and his eyes take a long time to adjust to bright and dark. “It can be really isolating because I live in a top floor flat and I’m worried I’ll fall down the stairs”
Adrian’s friends and family have been incredibly supportive as has his local community.
Following diagnosis Adrian was referred to Buckinghamshire Integrated Sensory Service (BISS) who work alongside BucksVision. Kim organised a meeting with Adrian where she carried out a holistic assessment. She helped him to navigate daily tasks around the house and went through all the benefits and services he could access. She then went on to do cane training with him which helps him get used to using his cane out and about. Adrian said, “Kim has been a great help and is so supportive, she is so patient with me”. Adrian has also attended Sunshine Group sessions which is organised by BucksVision. It is a great way for local people living with sight-loss to come together for coffee and a catch up.
Adrian has always been interested in art and painting since he was at school; but following his diagnosis he didn’t want to do anything. His wife bought him some pastels and encouraged him to get back into his art and he hasn’t looked back since! He paints the environment around him by taking a photo on his phone and zooming in so he can see the finer details.
One of Adrian’s favourite pastimes is visiting his local pub across the road, the landlady was so shocked to see him with a cane she wanted to help. She has put his artwork on display around the pub and lots of customers have bought them. Adrian donates half of the funds he makes from his artwork to charity to fund research into his condition and possibly stem cell treatment in the future.
He is passionate about raising awareness of his condition and living with sight loss. He goes out into his local community to talk about his condition and to try to ensure no one feels alone following a diagnosis like his.
“Local charities like BucksVision are a real lifeline for people living with sight-loss. I would feel completely lost without the support and advice they have given me. My outlook on the future is much more positive and I am looking forward to making my artwork even more successful”.
Can you help us to continue to support people like Adrian by making a donation this Festive Season?
You can find out more about Adrian and his artwork by visiting his Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100090866839738 Just Be You