Blind veteran Jamie Weller explains how supporters like you have helped him manage his condition.
I was only 20 when my sight began to deteriorate. After just three months I had no central vision. A large blind spot in each eye robbed me of my sight, and everything I’d ever dreamed of. My vision is 1/600, which means that to see what a fully sighted person can see from 600 metres, I’d have to be one metre away.
Since I was a boy all I wanted was to serve my country and work with planes but, just as I was due to be posted to an aircraft carrier, which I’d always dreamed of, I had to give up my Navy career as a Sea Harrier Engineer. My world turned upside down and I genuinely don’t know how I would have coped were it not for Blind Veterans UK.
Thankfully, Blind Veterans UK were there for me every step of the way – and they’re still with me today.
If you’re blind there will always be new challenges and times when you struggle. That’s why I think Blind Veterans UK Community Support Workers are so important.
They visit ex-Service men and women affected by sight loss in their homes, getting to know them as individuals. They monitor each blind veteran’s health and well-being, so they too can manage their sight loss and not let it manage them.
I’ve been blind for 27 years and have had a fulfilling life. I have a degree and was the first registered blind person to qualify as a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. In recent years I’ve won four medals at the 2017 Invictus Games and even reached Everest Base Camp. I also have a lovely wife and two beautiful daughters – and Blind Veterans UK is there for all of our family.
So if I could speak to a newly-diagnosed blind veteran right now, I know exactly what I would tell them: don’t let it beat you. You have to play with the cards you’re dealt and however bad things might sometimes seem, with Blind Veterans UK and their supporters on your side, you can face up to your challenges and have a good and full life.
Blind Veteran and Former Engineer Mechanic 1st Class, the Royal Navy.
"The support I received helped me understand that I didn't have to let blindness manage me - I could manage my blindness."