Sue Harrod was born with high myopia and congenital cataracts and had corneal ulceration in both eyes at the age of two.
In 1992 and 2001 she had retinal bleeds on both retinas, which has resulted in macular degeneration. She is now registered severely sight impaired.
Her vision was further complicated by glaucoma, but had been stable until February last year when she had a retinal detachment that was not treated promptly.
She said: “I saw a doctor who said if it gets worse come back. I was left for a fortnight. My Optician said every day you leave a retinal detachment retinal cells die. I was absolutely in dire straits as to what to do.”
Sue eventually had surgery, but the recovery process was slow, involving, initially, seven days lying face down. The wait for treatment may have caused further sight loss.
Following this incident Sue was diagnosed three months later with a congenital heart abnormality that resulted in immediate double bypass surgery. The stress became too much. She felt she needed some support and called on the Society’s counselling service.
She said: “I had had so much trauma I almost couldn’t cope with it. I have had eye problems all my life and to wait so long for treatment and to see my sight getting worse was horrible.
She added: “I have been to a counsellor in the past, but Jane from the Macular Society’s counselling service was really five star. She was there to listen and give me some guidance. All I can say is I don’t know what I would have done without her at the end of the phone.”
Sue, a retired occupational therapist, had also run her own training business. Despite her background she felt the need to speak to someone outside of her own friends and family.
She said: “I liked the way Jane guided the conversation and was there to help me with any issues that I wanted to discuss. I had been having awful trouble sleeping and she gave me guidance on how to get to sleep that worked. She also made me realise I had been through a lot and I mustn’t be too hard on myself.”