Sight or hearing loss can occur at any time but particularly as people get older. However, some people may experience a loss to both senses, which is termed, dual sensory loss.
Individuals with dual sensory loss are greatly disadvantaged because they cannot compensate for hearing or sight loss with a sense that remains fully functional. In addition, the loss of each sense compounds difficulties associated with the other. For example, hearing loss is compounded by an inability to lip read or see facial expression. Isolation is a very real risk for people with dual sensory loss.
It is important to look after our sight and hearing as most sensory loss can be avoided, or stabilised, if problems are detected early enough. Sight checks every 2 years are recommended for adults, though these should be more frequent if individuals have a family history of sight loss, or a medical condition which can lead to vision problems. Regular hearing checks are recommended for people over the age of 40.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a decade to pass from the time someone first notices hearing difficulties until they get their hearing tested. This delay can have a detrimental impact on the effectiveness of hearing aids. Ideally hearing aids should be fitted as soon as possible after hearing loss occurs so that the brain does not need to re-learn sounds which have not been heard for many years. Different types of hearing aids help people who are not profoundly deaf to experience improved hearing, but they do not restore hearing to the level of natural sound experienced before hearing loss.
World Glaucoma Week – Michael’s story
My sight loss started very suddenly. One morning I noticed that I kept falling over and losing my balance as if drunk. Until I was diagnosed with it I hadn’t heard of Glaucoma.
Now I have to keep turning my head to the sides to try to see everything, as often I don’t notice things until I knock over or bump into them. I’ve noticed that different lights affect my eyesight. It’s as if I’m in a box which is closing in on me. I can’t do my favourite sports anymore and I really do miss cycling. I have been working with EYECAN since 2012 and I still receive support from them.
Estimates put the total number of suspected cases of Glaucoma at over 60 million worldwide.
Early detection really can make a difference so please get your eyes screened.
Symptoms may include:
- Blurred / foggy vision
- Seeing halos or rainbows of colour around lights bulbs
- Sensitivity to glare
- Poor night vision
- Increased period of adjustment when moving between different light conditions
- Loss of peripheral vision, resulting in difficulty locating objects and failure to notice things at the periphery of your vision, resulting in frequent accidents
- Mild to severe headaches, and eye pain
If you, or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is advisable to take a Glaucoma screening test as soon as possible. Contact your Optician to arrange a screening.
National Eye Health Week 21st to 27th September 2020
During this year’s National Eye Health Week , it’s more important than ever to remember to look after your eyes. At least half of sight loss is avoidable. If you have an eye condition, it’s important that you continue to look after eyes to stop your condition from getting worse.
Follow the link to find out if you could be doing more to protect your eyesight. http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/eye-health-questionnaire/eye-health-questionnaire
Westlea welcomes members back for pebble and tile painting
It was so wonderful to have a small group of members at Westlea Centre today. This is the first time we have welcomed our members back since March. They enjoyed a morning of pebble and tile painting and it looks like they haven’t lost their creative flair!
More workshops are planned in the coming weeks.
Great to hear their chatter again at Westlea.
Protect your eyes from the sun!
We all know that the sun releases radiation, one of these is UV which is invisible to the eye. UV rays are responsible for sunburn, but did yo know they can also damage your eyes and vision!
Wearing sunglasses with a built in UV filter this summer can help protect your eyes from UV damage.
UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can harm your eyes and may increase the risk of Cataracts and Age-related Macular Degeneration, the number one cause of sight loss in Britain.
It is a good idea to wear sunglasses whenever you spend time outdoors, but did you know that UV exposure is much higher in areas where there are more reflective surfaces, for example near water? So, protecting your eyes when you are by the sea is particularly important.
When choosing sunglasses only buy those which have a CE mark or carry British Standard BS EN ISO 12312-1. Many tints are available but the lightness or darkness, and the colour of the tint, are largely a matter of choice.
Have a great summer!
EYECAN Solutions is our annual exhibition showcasing the latest technology, innovations and support available to people with sight loss. It is held on Thursday 28th May 2019 between 10am and 4pm . EYECAN Solutions is FREE to attend.
Do you know someone who:
– Has lost their independence and confidence because of sight loss?
– Has been told the optician can no longer help?
– Struggles to read standard (12pt) text?
– Is newly diagnosed with sight loss?
– Bumps into things?
If you know someone who has a sight impairment, this event is for them!
COVID-19 – HOW ISLANDER’S WITH SIGHT LOSS ARE MANAGING AND HOW EYECAN ARE SUPPORTING THEM
Recently our Rehabilitation Worker Chris Frost and one of our members Jenny Stafford spoke to BBC Radio Jersey. Click on the link below to hear how recent events have impacted the lives of our Islanders with sight loss and how EYECAN are supporting them.
Chris Frost – 1 Hour 50 Minutes in
Jenny Stafford – 2 Hours 20 Minutes in
Imagine a world in which faces have vanished, obscured by a dark cloud in the centre of your vision. Out of focus impressions remain on the perimeter of your sight but the faces of those you love have disappeared completely, along with the faces of everyone you look at. When you dream you remember faces, but you lose them on awakening.
The voice nearby sounds friendly, but you’re not sure you’re being addressed. There are other people nearby. Eye contact to gauge the speaker’s intentions is not possible. You’ll look a fool if you butt in. You sit quietly, hoping you’re not causing offence. You feel vulnerable, and very lonely.
This is sight impairment.
Strange images begin to haunt your remaining sight. You’re really frightened. Perhaps you have a mental illness? Drifts of flowers curtain your vision, ants swarm across the floor like pools of spreading ink. A black cat curls up comfortably in the seat beside you – but you don’t have a cat! You don’t know it but your brain is filling in the gaps from the limited information it’s receiving from your eyes. The results are alarming.
This is sight impairment.
Shopping is very stressful. Pavements, full of obstacles, narrow and swell in strange distortions. People rushing, crossing in front of you. You feel panicked. You go into a shop. It takes an age to find what you want because when you try to identify the product, read the price, these things vanish behind the dark cloud in the centre of your gaze. Sometimes you snatch something up, hoping it will do. Very often it doesn’t.
You hope the notes you hand to the assistant are the right denomination. You hate to look a fool. Last week you smiled and explained that you’re sight impaired. “Why don’t you wear glasses then?” was the response. You felt sick and humiliated. You made for the nearest loo to try and pull yourself together, but everything vanished in a dazzle of hygienic white. You groped for the fitments, crashed your hip against the sink. You can still feel the bruise.
This is sight impairment.
EYECAN can help. A rehabilitation officer assesses people in their own homes, helps make the environment work for them, matches them to equipment and support which makes life easier. He provides mobility training to enable people to move around confidently wherever they are, and gives tips to help them deal with the visual hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet syndrome. He can refer them to social and activity clubs where they will meet other people with sight loss. When a member had a bad cold recently 5 other members rang staff to let them know she couldn’t make it that day. Such friendships are invaluable.
EYECAN is always working to raise awareness of the needs of sight impaired islanders. Staff will listen to bad experiences. People don’t usually mean to be unhelpful but Jersey has a legal obligation to be inclusive and staff training, and advice on accessible premises and information, are available from EYECAN.
For more information about EYECAN please visit www.eyecan.je or phone 864869.
29 year old Zoe Morrison experienced significant sight loss 3 years ago. At her eye department appointment, when she was told that it was no longer safe for her to drive, she realised that she would not be able to keep up her job. She was absolutely devastated. “I felt I’d just lost my independence” she says. Her consultant had mentioned that she should get in touch with EYECAN, but it took several weeks before Zoe could bring herself to do this, and 4 – 6 months before she could properly engage with the support on offer. “I didn’t want to admit that I needed help”, she explains. She also thought that social clubs were just for old people.
Zoe is now a popular and committed Activity Club member. Her charming designs regularly feature on EYECAN Christmas cards. Since her first contact with EYECAN the Community Team has provided much practical support to Zoe, including mobility training, and assistive technology to promote her independence. When out shopping Zoe sometimes uses Be My Eyes, an app loaded onto her phone which video-calls a helper who reads product details to her. Zoe can now take note of ingredients, expiry dates and prices. Whenever Zoe has concerns EYECAN has stood beside her, advocating for her, giving her confidence and making sure she is listened to.
Zoe recently finished an Introduction to Counselling course and this year will begin the Level 2 course in Counselling Skills. She says “I have a chance again, my world isn’t over. Technology is a of massive benefit to people with sight loss. And who knows, in time perhaps there’ll be a cure for me. Whatever happens, I feel that I’ve got my independence back.”
EYECAN can help. A Rehabilitation Officer assesses people in their own homes, helps make the environment work the them, matches them to equipment and support which makes life easier. He provides mobility training to enable people to move around confidently wherever they are, and gives tips to help them deal with the visual hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnes Syndrome. He can refer them to social and activity clubs where they will meet other people with sight loss. When a member had a bad cold recently 5 other members rang staff to let them know that she couldn’t make it that day. Such friendships are invaluable.
EYECAN is always working to raise awareness of the needs of sight impaired Islanders. Staff will listen to bad experiences. People don’t usually mean to be unhelpful but Jersey has a legal obligation to be inclusive and staff training, and advice on accessible premises and information are available from EYECAN.
Enjoy good food – protect your eyes!
We often hear about the health benefits of a diet rich in natural ingredients, but how many of us realise that such a diet also supports good eye health?
Medical research suggests that by regularly eating colourful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and oily fish we could prevent, or slow down the progress, of several eye conditions. Research also indicates that a diet low in saturated fats and high in leafy green vegetables, and also eggs, could delay the progression of cataracts and Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Lots of very good reasons to eat tastily and healthily!
As EYECAN’s Rehabilitation Officer, Chris Frost, points out, “combine such a diet with regular exercise and the risk of acquiring Age-related Macular Degeneration can be reduced even further, whilst maintaining a healthy weight considerably reduces the risk of diabetes, a condition which can lead to sight loss.”
Mobility Scooter Campaign
EYECAN has recently led a multi-agency response to reports of accidents involving mobility scooters and pedestrians with hidden disabilities. The Group developed a free guidance DVD, and an Assessment form and Code of Conduct for use by scooter retailers. We hope this initiative will boost the confidence of scooter users, promote safe travel and raise awareness of hidden disability.
The Road Safety Panel are supporting the Mobility Scooter User’s group’s new safety initiative aimed at promoting the safety of mobility scooter users and those they interact with.
This really useful package has been produced with the expertise of Shopmobility, The Department for Growth, Housing & Environment, Jersey’s Occupational Therapy Department & Liberty Bus.
This fantastic resource will really help anyone, whether an experienced scooter user or someone totally new to the world of mobility scooters. If you are a family member thinking of buying a scooter for a loved one, this package is a MUST watch. It’s incredibly easy to make an expensive mistake when buying a scooter.
The package consists of a guidance DVD, a leaflet to support the DVD and a series of interviews with pedestrians, who have hidden disabilities, explaining why they may not be able to move swiftly out of the way of an approaching scooter. There is also a programme aimed at helping Retailers to ensure that islanders wanting to buy a scooter make the right choice.
The Guidance Video
This video (with subtitles) provides guidance about purchasing and using a Mobility Scooter and advises prospective scooter purchasers of important considerations when choosing a scooter. It also covers things like the Law, getting to know your scooter (all the controls), how to safely use and manoeuvre the scooter when out and about in a variety of different environments as well as how to travel on the bus with your scooter.
Pedestrians with Impaired Sight
This video helps scooter users to understand the needs of sight impaired pedestrians. There are several different types of sight impairment all of which make manoeuvring through busy environments and crossing roads potentially dangerous.
Pedestrians Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
This video helps scooter users to understand the needs of people with a Hearing Impairment who may not hear a scooter approaching them.
Pedestrians with Slower Response Times
This video helps scooter users consider the needs of people with head injury, stroke, or any other disability which may delay reaction time. The man in this video was hit by a mobility scooter.
Witness to an Accident
Hear this ladies account of what it was like when she was witness to an accident which resulted in a serious injury, and her advice to any scooter operator who may get into difficulties when out in the community.
Locally Approved Retailers; ‘Code of Conduct’
‘Locally Approved Retailers’ who are supporting this scheme, have signed a Code of Conduct. Retailers will ensure new staff will be supervised until they are trained to sell a scooter. They will also make sure anyone thinking of purchasing a mobility scooter is properly assessed to ensure they are cognitively and physically fit enough to use a scooter, and that the scooter they purchase is suitable for their needs. A leaflet and guidance DVD will be given free of charge to anyone considering the purchase of a scooter as well as guidance and practical experience on how to use the scooter.
The following are approved Retailers:
Guardian Medical Supplies, Saville Street, St Helier Tel 732335
Lloyds Pharmacy, 7-8 The Parade, St Helier Tel 722862
Mercury Medical Jersey, Augres Garage, La Route de la Trinite Tel 610055
Technicare, Rue a la Dame, Five Oaks, St Saviour Tel 888975
Thinking of Visiting Jersey and Need to Hire a Mobility Scooter?
Shopmobility Jersey, is a scheme which provides mobility scooters, power and manual chairs and other equipment for the use of disabled people. It is based in the lower ground floor of the Sand Street car park and has reserved parking for those using its services. It is open from 10 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Saturday inclusive and closed on Sundays and Bank and Public holidays. Equipment can be hired for the day or delivered free to hotels or private addresses for longer term hire. Other items include shower stools, raised toilet seats on frames, tri- and quad-walkers (Rollators) etc.
Mobility scooters and manual chairs are also available at Jersey Zoo.
The prices are on the web on www.shopmobility.org.je and enquires can be made either by telephone, +44 (0) 1534 739672 or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org