When Kristy Garton returned from holiday and noticed a “raindrop” effect in her vision, she initially put it down to tiredness. But her symptoms persisted and when she visited her local A&E, they noticed she had lost quite a lot of her central vision.
Kristy was referred to an eye clinic and eventually told that abnormal blood vessels were growing through her retina and damaging her sight, due to a condition called myopic choroidal neovascularisation. But she was given no other information about the condition, or what the diagnosis meant for her sight or her future. She says: “I came home and it was a bit of a shock. I was obviously very upset.
“My biggest concern was that the hospital had no time for me. They didn’t tell me anything about my condition and what it was. I’m only 37 and I had been told I had this condition that is not going to go away. I needed some support,” she says.
Thankfully Kristy, who has two children, found the details of the Macular Society’s Helpline online.
She explains: “I phoned the Society and they were really, really helpful. They stayed on the phone talking to me more about my condition, and how they could help. They also asked how I felt and couldn’t have done more to make sure I was OK.”
When she was first diagnosed, Kristy, who works as a pharmacy technician, was signed off work as she was struggling to read and see fine detail.
She worried about how she would cope when she was able to return, but after speaking to the Society’s counselling service she was able to regain some of her confidence.
She says: “I couldn’t have gone back to work without speaking to the Macular Society. They provide a fantastic service. There is someone always there and they don’t treat you like a patient. It is a lifeline at the moment.”
She adds: “I felt lost and scared but the Society gave me information and someone to talk to and made me feel I had someone in my corner.”