Maghull blind veteran urges
other veterans to seek free support this National Eye Health Week
THIS National Eye Health Week, 19
September to 25
September 2016, a Liverpool Army veteran who lost his sight due to a stroke has urged
other ex-Service men and women to contact national sight loss charity Blind
Veterans UK for its support.
Kenneth Baker, 83, lives in Maghull and has been receiving support from Blind
Veterans UK since 2015. Born in Liverpool, Kenneth was first employed in a
timber yard before joining the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) for National
Service in 1951 at 18 years old. Kenneth served in Egypt in the lead up to the
Suez Crisis and then also in Trieste, Italy before he was discharged as a
private in 1953. He continued part time National Service in the Kings Regiment
It was years later, in 2013, that Kenneth suddenly lost his sight to a stroke.
The stroke caused the blood to his optic nerve in his right eye to be cut off,
leaving him severely vision impaired. He has always been severely short sighted
in his left eye.
Kenneth said:- "I was in bed about to go to sleep one night when my wife
suddenly said that there was something wrong with my eyes. My eyes were glazed
over and I was stuck staring into space. I couldn't see her at all. All I saw
were many coloured lights flashing in front of my eyes.
I was taken to the Hospital at 1am and told that I had just had my 2nd
stroke. The doctor who treated me said that if I had come into the Hospital a
bit earlier they might have been able to do more for me. Unfortunately it was
too late to save my sight. Losing my sight was really hard at 1st. I was still
running my own business as a handy man and then suddenly I could not drive or do
any DIY. I had to completely pack it all in. That was a difficult change to be
faced with and I did feel a bit lost."
This National Eye Health Week, Blind Veterans UK is reaching out to
vision impaired veterans like Richard who could be benefitting from its free,
life changing support. Regardless of how a veteran lost their sight or when they
Served, Blind Veterans UK will provide free, lifelong support to them and their
families to help them discover life after sight loss.
Blind Veterans UK estimates that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that
would be eligible to access its specialist support, most of whom are not
currently aware of it.
Fortunately for Kenneth, his local opticians knew about Blind Veterans UK and
encouraged him to get in touch with the charity to apply for their free
specialist support. As well as free equipment, Richard has had a week of
training at the Blind Veterans UK centre in Sheffield. He has also visited the
Llandudno centre for a holiday and attended a reunion of blind veterans at
Anfield Football Stadium.
Kenneth said:- "My training week at the Blind Veterans UK centre was
really helpful and the staff there were brilliant. They made sure I felt
comfortable and they taught me so much. The charity gave me so much free
equipment as well, like software for my laptop and a scanner which magnifies
documents so that I can read them again. Initially I said that I didn't need the
scanner because I just felt like I was taking too much, but they assured me that
it was mine to use as much as I need to.
The best piece of equipment that I've been given by far is a special smart phone
adapted so that I can use it. It's made such a huge difference because now I
have an easy way to keep in touch with my family and friends. The support from
Blind Veterans UK has been such a great experience and I'm very grateful for all
Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind and vision impaired
ex-Service men and women, providing vital practical and emotional support to
help veterans, discover life beyond sight loss. The charity has 3 centres in
Brighton, Sheffield and Llandudno, North Wales and a network of welfare officers
around the UK.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did National Service
and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could
help by calling:- 0800 389 7979 or visiting:-