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Leah thanks sight saving staff

08 November 2018

For World Sight Day (11 October) Eye Unit staff invited former patients who had benefitted from the care and treatment that the hospital provides, to share their stories.

One of those invited was Leah Fisher who told the amazing story of how she lost 90 per cent of her vision when she was pregnant. Now, thanks to Eye Unit staff she can not only see her child but drives and is in the final year of her degree.

Leah said: "People don't realise that sight loss can happen to you at any age, it isn't just the elderly and I really wanted to highlight that and show my appreciation for all that staff have done for me and my family. My care here was brilliant.

"Until something like this happens you don't realise how much of an impact it has on your life when you lose your sight. I lost mine just over a few weeks, so it was very sudden. It's something most of us take for granted. Not anymore."

Consultant ophthalmologist and retinal surgeon, Mr Aman Chandra, treated Leah here at Southend University Hospital. He said: "Loss of eyesight particularly affects people if their control of diabetes has been poor prior to pregnancy. It affects the blood vessels in the body and causes them to bleed and leak, which results in patients not being able to see."

When Leah came to us in late 2015 she was essentially blind. Her eyesight was bad enough for her to be registered blind, or severely visually impaired. When we saw her a year and a half later, she had 20/20 vision. Her turnaround has been quite remarkable."

Eye Unit staff, along with colleagues from Southend Blind Welfare, also visited the department for elderly medicine wards, where staff were given simulator glasses to replicate different types of sight loss diseases.

Sight

(l-r): Mr Aman Chandra, Leah Fisher and Margaret-Ann Girvan, General Manager  for Ophthalmology