Image: Trainer Steve Andrews
A new partnership between the Macular Society and Guide Dogs NI means that more people affected by macular degeneration in Northern Ireland will be given the chance to learn vital skills that can help maintain their independence.
As part of their ‘Skills for Seeing’ programme the two charities have trainers available to teach techniques which help people to make the best use of their remaining vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is estimated to affect more than half a million people in the UK alone, and is the biggest cause of sight loss in the developed world. More people are affected as our population ages.
Those affected by macular degeneration can find every day tasks such as cooking, walking, reading, watching television and even recognising the faces of others very difficult, if not impossible.
The practical skills of eccentric viewing and steady eye strategy are taught on a one to one basis free of charge. Once mastered, these skills can help people to make better use of their remaining peripheral vision, enabling them to complete tasks which they previously found extremely difficult.
Up until now the Macular Society have been delivering EV training to a small area in Northern Ireland, but this new partnership with Guide Dogs NI means the service is now available province wide.
Steve Andrews, the new trainer at Guide Dogs NI said: “It’s really important to us that losing your sight shouldn’t mean losing your independence too. The training that we deliver through the Skills for Seeing programme is helping people retain a degree of freedom that they wouldn’t otherwise have. We’re delighted that our partnership with the Macular Society means that together we will be able to help to offer this possibility to more people right across Northern Ireland.”