Sight loss veteran’s ‘understanding’ plea

Eddie Carroll was diagnosed with RP in February, 1997
Eddie Carroll was diagnosed with RP in February, 1997

A Mearns RAF veteran with sight loss is calling on the public ‘not to underestimate’ people with a vision impairment.

Eddie Carroll, 66, who has hereditary eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and is registered Severely Sight Impaired, has spoken out about his experiences of ‘ignorant’ comments from strangers and invasion of his personal space.

The dad-of-two, of Inverbervie, says he has always adopted a defiant and determined attitude regarding his eye condition – which will one day lead to total blindness – and admits that remarks questioning his sight loss can make him extremely frustrated.

With additional support from charity Scottish War Blinded, who have provided him with life-changing advice in cane use, Eddie leads a busy life as a hospital information officer, helping people who have been newly diagnosed with a sight condition.

He is asking for more awareness and understanding about what life is like with sight loss.

Eddie said: “I hate visually impaired people being stereotyped.

“I often get people invading my personal space and making comments like, ‘You’re no blind – are ye!’ and ‘Why are you so slow’. The anger stays for weeks.

“I have never had a problem with my eyesight, but it feels like sometimes some sighted people seem to have a problem with my eyesight.”

Eddie was diagnosed with RP in February 1997, and says he has adapted to the condition.

And the veteran hopes that by sharing his experiences, there can be an increase in understanding within society regarding living with sight loss.

Sharon McAllister, Scottish War Blinded rehabilitation officer, said: “The rehabilitation team works closely on a one-to-one basis with each of our members to ensure they feel comfortable, confident and safe in being out and about.

“The more awareness sighted members of the public also have about what it’s like to live with a sight condition, the better people with vision impairment can be supported to live full, independent lives.”