Some fantastic work has been entered into the Jersey Eisteddfod by artists from EYECAN. The members, who are all sight impaired, have each picked up an award for their work.
Whilst most members of the public are very considerate towards islanders with sight loss we hope the following points will help clear up any misunderstandings:
- Most people with sight loss won’t look any different from anyone else.
- Very few people with sight loss are completely blind, most have some useful vision left. Many people with impaired sight use a cane to help them to stay independent.
- There are several different types of cane which are used for different purposes: a short symbol cane is used to raise awareness of the user’s sight loss. The longer guide cane is used to feel for obstacles and to identify kerbs. A long cane is rolled or tapped from side to side as the user walks to help them find their way and to avoid obstacles. A cane which features red stripes tells people that the user has both sight and hearing loss. Someone with mobility problems might use a white walking stick.
- All white canes let other people know that the cane user has sight problems. This helps the public to understand that the cane user may not see pedestrians approach until the last moment – so please move out of their way to avoid the risk of accident. Some people use their cane to show that they might need assistance with certain tasks – if you notice someone struggling you could ask if help is needed.
- Many people with sight loss feel too vulnerable to use a cane. They don’t feel ready to draw attention to their sight loss.
- There are many different types of sight loss so you may notice things which surprise you – however this does not mean that the person you have noticed is not sight impaired. For instance, you might notice that someone is able to read text – however that person may see only what you would see if you were looking down a narrow tube. People with “tunnel vision” probably won’t notice things to the sides, above or below this limited area of vision, so may well need a cane to help them get around safely.
- Certain conditions can worsen the sight of people who have sight loss. Here are some examples: Poor light conditions – indoors and out. Glare – a bright day can cause dazzle. Being outside at night. Feeling unwell, depressed or stressed. Moving between different light conditions (we can probably all remember feeling temporarily blinded when moving into a dark exterior after being outside on a bright day). Someone who is sight impaired takes a lot longer to adjust between different light conditions -even moving from a darker to a lighter room can temporarily make their vision worse.
A brilliant video made by the RNIB explains the white cane and why many sight impaired people use them.
EYECAN has joined JustGiving allowing fundraising and donations to the charity to be made online.
As well as fundraising and donating using the online portal, JustGiving allows members of the public to set up ‘in memory of’ pages to remember the nearest and dearest while centralising funds to be raised.
Donations can be made as a one off or monthly using JustGiving’s online portal and is very easy to set up. To get started, simply click on the button below:
Remember a loved one by setting up a JustGiving page by clicking the below button:
To start fundraising for EYECAN, click the below button
The final installment of 2017’s Audio Newsletter has been published on EYECAN’s website and sent to members on CD.
The audio newsletter which is recorded, edited and produced in house is a quarterly release with extracts of the news, articles from the team at Westlea, talks from members and a quiz.
The final Audio Newsletter is available at http://www.eyecan.je/news/audio-newsletters/
What is Nystagmus?
Nystagmus is a complex eye condition that is characterised by involuntary movements of the eye. The eyes appear to wobble or flicker from side to side or up and down. Nystagmus is caused by abnormal functioning of the part of the brain which regulates eye movement and positioning.
Types of Nystagmus:
This type of nystagmus is noticed in very young children, usually soon after they’re born or in the first years of life. It can be caused by a problem with the eye itself or by a problem with the visual pathway from the eye to the brain.
This type of nystagmus develops later, generally in adults. Acquired nystagmus is often a sign of another condition like stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumour or the effect of a drug or head injury.
Diagnosing nystagmus can be the first sign of a serious disorder of the eye or brain. It’s really important that when nystagmus first develops, it’s checked by an ophthalmologist (hospital eye doctor) or neurologist as soon as possible.
Investigations will depend on the type of nystagmus you have, your age and what your doctor thinks the underlying cause is.
It’s very likely that an eye clinic will monitor the condition and this might mean seeing a number of different professionals.
The actual movement of the eyes in nystagmus can’t be cured but some things may help with managing your nystagmus.
- Glasses, contact lenses and low vision aids: these won’t correct nystagmus but having clearer vision can help slow eye movements.
- Surgery: Very occasionally surgery can be performed to alter the position of the muscles that move the eye so that it’s more comfortable for you to keep your head in the best position Surgery can’t correct or cure your nystagmus.
- Drugs: Drugs can sometimes be used in acquired nystagmus to help reduce your awareness of the constant eye movement.
- Bio feedback: Researchers have developed techniques to help you become more aware of your eye movements in order to control them. There’s no clear evidence that these techniques work but some people with nystagmus have reported good results.
Wobbly Wednesday Facts
- There are two main types of nystagmus – Congenital (present from birth) and acquired.
- People with nystagmus usually have a point where intensity of the nystagmus is decreased. This is called the null point, and they may adopt an abnormal head position to help maintain their eyes in this position.
- People with nystagmus usually have decreased vision and poor depth perception, this varies dramatically from person to person
- Botox (Botulinum toxin) injections can occasionally temporarily decrease the nystagmus by making use of the null point, surgery and medication is also possible in some cases
- Acquired nystagmus is normally caused by problems in the brain steam and is often seen in multiple sclerosis, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. It can also be caused by excessive drug use.
- People with acquired nystagmus will see the world move as their eyes move (known as oscillopsia) whereas those with congenital nystagmus do not.
Videos about Nystagmus:
RNIB produced a short video where one of their members, Phil, described how his nystagmus affects his sight and how he manages with his eye condition day to day:
Video from Nystagmus Network:
Sources of information:
Members of EYECAN attended a fantastic night of Classics from Vienna performed by the Jersey Chamber Orchestra at the Jersey Opera House on Saturday 7th October.
The music which included pieces from Beethoven and Mozart were thoroughly enjoyed and masterfully played and conducted. An exciting programme of popular classics from Vienna. With Mozart’s famous Horn Concerto performed by soloist Martin Owen, and Beethoven´s Pastoral Symphony this concert was not to be missed.
Our members had a brilliant night and both EYECAN and the members who attended would like to thank Music In Action for the complementary tickets.
Today, 12th October 2017, is World Sight Day an annual day of awareness to focus attention on sight impairment.
This year’s message for World Sight Day is ‘Make Vision Count’. Not only is this a call to educate others about the importance of eye examinations but a call for you to get your eyes tested.
When was the last time you got your eyes tested?
Regular eye tests are important because your eyes don’t usually hurt when something is wrong. A sight test is a vital health check for your eyes that can pick up early signs of eye conditions before you’re aware of any symptoms – many of which can be treated if found early enough.
Optometrists recommend that most people should get their eyes tested every two years. However, in some circumstances, they may recommend more frequent sight tests; for example, if you:
- are a child wearing glasses
- have diabetes
- are aged 40 or over and have a family history of glaucoma
- are aged 70 or over
It is a lesser known fact that 50% of sight impairment is avoidable by having a regular eye health check.
FAQ’s about sight tests:
Why is an eye test important?
Regular eye examinations are important as it is also a health check for your eyes. Sight tests can pick up on early signs of eye conditions before you can be aware of the symptoms. Some of these include; Diabetes, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma.
Eye examinations can enable the optician to make sure you are getting maximum clarity from your spectacles. Your eye test will show if you need to get glasses for the first time or a change of prescription in your current glasses.
How much should an eye test cost me?
An eye test ranges from £20 – £45 in Jersey, unfortunately free eye tests are not offered as part of a health scheme.
How often should I have an eye test?
We recommend that you have your eye examination at least every two years. We may advise more regular eye examinations if you have any eye conditions or have a family history of eye conditions.
If I suffer from diabetes but have had no change in vision do I still have my eyes tested?
Yes. You should make an appointment to have your eyes tested as frequently as your optician recommends. If you have diabetes you are susceptible to certain eye conditions which your optician will test for and to make sure your eyes are healthy.
Do I need a eye test even if I don’t wear contact lens or glasses?
Even if you don’t need glasses or contact lenses we still recommend regular eye exams to check your eye health. Regular eye examinations are important as they can pick up on early signs of eye conditions before you can be aware of the symptoms. Some of these include; Diabetes, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma.
When should my child have their first eye test?
All children, in Jersey, are offered an eye test in their reception class. If parents have any concerns before then, they are to contact their health visitor or GP for a referral to the orthoptic department.
What are the different types of eye defects that could affect me?
Cataract is a very common eye condition and are cloudy patches in the lens that make vision blurry. Over time the cloudy patches become bigger and the patients sight will be more affected as less light is able to pass through the lens.
Glaucoma occurs when the drainage tubes in the eye become slightly blocked. This prevents eye fluid from draining properly. When the fluid cannot drain properly pressure builds causing raised intraocular pressure. This can damage the optic nerve and the nerve fibres from the retina and will damage affect your peripheral vision without you knowing.
Age-Related Macula Degeneration is a painless eye condition that leads to the gradual loss of central vision. Age-Related Macula Degeneration is a painless eye condition that leads to the gradual loss of central vision.
Diabetes can affect your sight because blood vessels in the retina can become blocked or leaky, or can grow haphazardly.This damages the retina and stops it from working.
What should I do if my vision becomes worse and I am not due an eye test?
If you think there has been a sudden change in your vision or you are experiencing any visual distortions, such as tunnel vision or flashing lights please ring your GP or one of our practices as soon as possible. It may not be anything to worry about but should be investigated just incase.
Can I wear contact lenses?
New technology in contact lenses means there is now a wide variety of lenses available. You can now get contact lenses for a variety of prescription requirements ranging from high powered prescriptions to astigmatism. There are even contact lenses that correct both distance and near vision in one lens just like varifocals.
7th – 15th October 2017
This Guide Dogs Week people all over the UK are Moving it for Money to help ensure Guide Dogs can help as many blind and partially sighted people as possible.
Facts about guide dogs:
- The average working life of a guide dog is six to seven years.
- At the end of 2016, there were 5,015 active guide dog owners in the UK.
- Guide dogs are responsible for around 8,000 dogs at any one time – active working guide dogs and those enjoying their retirement.
- Guide dogs breed in the region of 1,300 guide dog puppies each year.
- 828 people were matched with a guide dog in 2016.
- It costs £35 per week to keep a partnership together.
- Total cost from birth to retirement of a guide dog is £56,800.
In the video below, which is audio described, Steve talks about how he led an ordinary life, until one night the lights went out. He’d lived with glaucoma for many years, but after an operation he woke up and his world was totally black. Steve speaks about how becoming a guide dog owner helped get the old Steve back.
For more information about Guide Dog week visit https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/guidedogsweek#.Wds16miPKUm
An art project being completed by two sight impaired artists at Wednesday’s activity day centre is almost complete.
After months of work, Sarah Strudwick and Diana Bowen’s colourful and summery mosaic picture of the front of Westlea Centre’s building, viewed through an open window is nearing completion and really taking shape.
The 100cm x 70cm piece, which has been worked on weekly will be displayed in the centre and is a great example of the high quality artwork that is being produced by clients during the Wednesday Activity Day Centre.
If you or someone you know is interested in EYECAN’s day centres please do get in touch with us on 864689 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Moon System of Embossed Reading (commonly known as the Moon writing, Moon alphabet, Moon script, Moon type, or Moon code) is a writing system for people with sight loss, using embossed symbols mostly derived from simplified Latin script.
Moon type is claimed to be easier to understand that Braille, although it is mainly used by people who have lost their sight as adults as they already have the knowledge of the letter shapes.
Moon System of Embossed Reading was developed by englishman Dr William Moon between 1843 and 1845 who lost his sight at the age of 21 from scarlet fever. At the time of developing his own style of embossed type he was a teacher for the blind and saw an opportunity to simplify learning of embossed reading codes. At the time that William Moon developed his embossed print, braille, although developed 16 years before, had not reached the UK from France.
Rather than the use of dots, which braille makes use of, Moon uses raised curves, angles and lines, which when printed have a strong resemblance to the printed equivalent.
Moon has been found particularly suitable for those who lose their sight later in life or for people who may have a less keen sense of touch. It has also proved successful as a mode of literacy for children with additional physical and or learning difficulties.
In more recent years however a change has been made to move back to braille, this was confirmed by the RNIB in June 2012 who said:
“We believe that there is a need for an alternative simple tactile script for people whose sight is too poor to use a print script, but for whom braille, even uncontracted braille, is not a satisfactory solution.
However RNIB and other blindness agencies world-wide have serious reservations about the viability of Moon as this alternative tactile script. We aspire to conduct research into the viability of alternate tactile scripts, but in recent years our financial position has prevented us from embarking on such a large-scale project.
With our limited resources, we have decided to focus on teaching and promoting braille and other accessible formats. This is in line with other major blindness organisations world-wide. We are not planning to return to active production and promotion of Moon, though we will continue to offer products until stocks run out, loan adult books from our library, and signpost to practitioner experts and other resources.”
More information can be found about Moon and the RNIB’s position here: http://www.rnib.org.uk/braille-and-moon-tactile-codes/moon