My Margate Experience with Beyond Sight Loss

We traveled as a group to Margate on Thursday 28th June.  There was very good community spirit among the members.  Each of the members had a different experience of the outing because of their childhood memories of visiting the beach town.

The weather was nice and sunny, and you could feel the cool breeze.  It was nice to walk along the beach front.  I really enjoyed it!

For lunch, we ate at a fish and chips restaurant on the promenade.  The food was reasonably priced and was cooked fresh.  I thought the customer service was fantastic as all the staff were very friendly and attentive to the group’s needs.

As I spoke to each of the members individually, I learned that some of the older members were slightly disappointed that their memories of Margate have been eroded over the years, but I didn’t let this dampen their spirit.

When I finished my lunch, I decided to explore the old part of the town.  I was pleased to see the old-fashioned sweet shop I used to visit had survived, so I bought a few treats to bring back home for my family.  Also, I came across graffiti art of the Trotter family from the comedy show ‘Only Fools and Horses’, which I loved watching.  The art was big and the colours were bold enough for me and some of the members with sight to appreciate.  It was a very nice piece of art work!

We had split into several groups as there were so many of us, and at the end of the day we regrouped and shared what we had done on our visit.

I enjoyed myself and would like to say thank you to all the organisers and volunteers who work hard to keep us safe and arrange the outings.

Margate1
Photo of the Beyond Sight Loss members eating fish and chips at a seaside restaurant in Margate.
Margate2
Photo of a mural (wall art) featuring the Trotter family from the TV comedy show ‘Only Fools and Horses’. The mural features Del Boy, Rodney and Grandpa who are all characters in the TV show.

Written by Christine Maker, ELVis member

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Living with Aniridia

What colour are your eyes? Are they blue, green, or brown? It’s something most of us take for granted. But for me it’s not that simple.

My name is Glen, I’m 33, and I have a rare condition called Aniridia. This means I was born without irises, so I don’t technically have an eye colour. Aniridia affects just 1 in 47,000 people, and to mark the first ever Aniridia Day on 21st June 2017, I’d like to tell you a bit about how it affects me.

The iris has an important job. It adjusts the size of the pupil to control how much light enters your eye; they will shrink in bright light to allow less light, and expand in the dark to allow in more light and help you see better.

Without an iris, my eyes are very sensitive to glare and brightness.  On cloudy days I wear sunglasses because there can be glare coming off from things like clouds, walls, and windows. And it gets worse if the sun reflects of rainwater or if I’m feeling tired or unwell.

Similarly, computer programs often have white backgrounds, which also cause glare. So I invert the colours to give me white text on a black background, which I find a lot more comfortable. I then flip it back to normal when looking at photos or videos, or else they look weird!

Additionally, I also have to be careful when I’m going into a dark room. I may have to hold on to another person or wait a few minutes until my eyes adjust to the level of light available in the room.

Living with aniridia hasn’t stopped me from living my life though. I’ve graduated from university and I’ve been working in my job for over 12 years. I also love travelling and socialising. Furthermore, since I moved to London last Christmas, I’m having a great time exploring the city and making new friends – including the very welcoming members of East London Vision, and I’m involved with Aniridia Network UK as well. So I’m happy and comfortable, and the future looks bright as long as I wear my shades!

GlenTurnerNHM
Photo of Glen and a tour guide at the Natural History Museum holding a piece of zebra fur, during a trip to the museum in April 2017.

You can find lots more about my visual impairment and the things I enjoy at the following links:

Blog – www.welleyenever.com

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv7AcWqn3r_HxQRAtxVe5Fg

Twitter – https://twitter.com/well_eye_never

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/welleyenever/

Thanks for reading!

Written by Glen Turner