I lost my sight in 2018 after being diagnosed with an advanced meningioma that was putting pressure on my optic nerve. I underwent brain surgery and proton therapy to try and save my vision but the tumour has continued to grow and my sight has deteriorated.

When I was first registered as blind, I thought it meant the end of my career. How could I continue to live, let alone work, if I could not read, use my phone or check my emails? Luckily for me, I was put in touch with Jerry at Cam Sight who opened my mind to a world of technological solutions that I had not known existed. I quickly discovered that my Samsung Smartphone has an inbuilt Voice Assistant that just needed turning on and that I could download free screen reading software, such as NVDA, which would read the computer text out loud.

The journey was not an easy one, but with Jerry’s support I learnt how to navigate my way through my Apps and computer programs. It was difficult and frustrating. Things that had once been so easy, such as typing, now required enormous amounts of practise and concentration. I often had to resist the urge to throw my laptop against the wall.

Of course I am still learning, but I am pleased to say that I am now back in full-time employment as a Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University. With the help of my screen reader and a dedicated support worker, I am giving lectures using Microsoft PowerPoint, attending international seminars and conferences via Microsoft Teams and Zoom and have even had some success coding and running scripts to analyse data and support my scientific research.

Jerry has been there with me every step of the way, providing me and my family with practical advice, support and friendship. I cannot deny it, losing your sight is terrifying, but the technology is out there to help you maintain your independence and it has allowed me to continue working in a job that I love.

For anyone going through a similar experience, I highly recommend that you get in touch with Jerry at Cam Sight and discover how technology can assist you in following the career of your dreams.

Dr Olivia Norfolk
Senior Lecturer in Animal and Environmental Biology at Anglia Ruskin University