Portrait of carer Judy Pile wife of blind veteran Mark

Trudy's story

Trudy Pile, 46, became a carer to her former Army reservist husband Mark over ten years ago after he lost his sight to the rare, hereditary condition, amblyopia.

Mark’s health and eye sight worsened over time and he was eventually registered blind over five years ago. As Mark’s failing eye sight left him unable to do many basic things himself, Trudy had to leave her previous job as a civil servant in order to become Mark’s constant companion

Trudy says: “Mark became increasingly depressed because of his ill health; he lost his confidence and he was forced to stop doing things that he used to love to do, like driving and fishing. There had to be somebody with him at all times - it was a 24/7 job.

“Becoming Mark’s carer affected me dramatically. It can be very difficult at times. It can be tearful, it’s emotionally draining, it’s physically draining and it can be very isolating. It sometimes felt as though I was more of a nurse than a wife. But that’s all changed now thanks to Blind Veterans UK - they have really turned our lives around.”

As an ex-Service man with severe sight loss, Mark was eligible for help from Blind Veterans UK.

Trudy continues: “Right up until we got to the Brighton centre [one of the charity’s three rehabilitation and service centres], Mark was adamant he didn’t want help. But as soon as he had met some of the charity’s other vision impaired veterans, he completely changed.

“Blind Veterans UK has given me precious time back and Mark has been given his independence back, which is amazing. The charity encouraged Mark to take up photography and have given him training and equipment to be able to do this.

“He’s gone from strength to strength and is now even training other veterans at the Brighton centre. Now that he’s more confident to go out alone, I get time to do my hobbies, such as crafting, and I don’t have to worry about him because I know he’s safe. Things are definitely on the up!”

Blind Veterans UK currently helps over 6,700 veterans, carers and families to adjust to life with sight loss by offering training, equipment and respite care, as well as emotional and practical support.

“Getting involved with Blind Veterans UK is the best thing we’ve ever done, it has completely turned our lives around. I would encourage anyone who is in a similar situation to give the charity a call. The charity has made such a difference to our lives.”