Cam Sight service user, Sue Lambley from Cambridge, tells us her story of living with Glaucoma, as part of Glaucoma Awareness Week, (26 June to 2 July)

Image of Sue Lambley supporting us at one of our fundraising events holding the Cam Sight bucket with our information banner behind promoting the Lotto Scheme.

“Living with Glaucoma has been somewhat of a rollercoaster.

“Diagnosed at the age of nine, totally losing the sight of my right eye by 13, numerous laser operations through my 20s and 30s and daily drops and tablets. By the age of 45 only an 8° angle of central vision in my left eye remained. At this stage, the only option was to have an aqueous shunt fitted, (an operation that carried risks due to the amount of scarring from the laser treatment). Yet, here I am, thankfully, seven years on, my vision holding and no medication needed.

“Sometimes it’s hard for others to understand glaucoma.

“My minuscule tunnel of central vision means that I can just about read a menu in a restaurant, but I can’t navigate my way to the toilet. I can see to chop vegetables but lack of peripheral vision means that if I drop a carrot, on the floor, I have to get down on my hands and knees and feel around to find it.

“I can walk quickly and confidently to the railway station, a route I know very well, but in a new place I completely lack confidence to navigate my way around independently.

“Having an optimistic outlook on life, a wonderful network of supportive friends and family, and surrounding myself with kind people – advice that a special friend gave to me, means that living with glaucoma has not stopped me having a full and happy life. Studying at university, living abroad, teaching for 25 years, learning to play the piano, swimming, baking, the list goes on.

“There have been times when I have needed more professional support, and it’s wonderful to know that us glaucoma sufferers can call on help from Cam Sight and Glaucoma UK.

“How lucky are we in Cambridgeshire to have Cam Sight.

“Cam Sight has been invaluable in providing a listening ear, practical advice to overcome frustrations, and the emotional support I have needed to accept, for example, that I would find life easier if I used a white stick. What’s more, Volunteering for Cam Sight has allowed me to make new friends and have new experiences.

Jenny Medcalf, Head of Fundraising and Engagement for Cam Sight, said "Cam Sight's services are open to all people with low vision or blindness including anyone experiencing a sudden deterioration of their eyesight, but all those with long-standing eye conditions. We can offer practical help with welfare benefits, assistive technology and low vision equipment, and offer emotional support through our counselling services. We also run a variety of activities and monthly peer support groups throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

"Please get in touch to talk to our Support and Advice Workers to establish how we could help. As a charity we are all about independence, wellbeing and inclusion and we are here to support you to live the life you choose."

Sue, added: “Glaucoma UK were in its very early stages at the beginning of the 1980s when I was undergoing treatment in a London hospital. I was taken under the wing and supported by Betsy who was the founder’s secretary, I have fond memories of staying with her in my school summer holidays and volunteering for the Glaucoma Association, by putting newsletters in envelopes and taking them to the post. Glaucoma UK, has grown hugely since then, but I shall always be grateful to Betsy, and in fact will be visiting her next week to help her celebrate her 90th birthday!

Research from Glaucoma UK have estimated that over 700,000 people in the UK have glaucoma, but half don’t even know it. That’s why it’s crucial everyone attends a routine eye test every two years to avoid irreversible sight loss.

If you would like to arrange a visit to Cam Sight or talk to someone, phone us on 01223 420033.