In 2006, Debbie was diagnosed with AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration), this came as a big shock to her, she says, “I’d never heard of macular”. She remembers the moment in which her doctor showed her a picture of the back of her eye, she saw lots of yellow and orange dots on her retina. The doctor explained to Debbie that Dry AMD typically causes very gradual sight loss, and so she wasn’t initially too concerned.

It was years before Debbie noticed changes in her vision, she described her sight loss as “so gradual”. Once she retired, she volunteered at a community centre where she now had to read enlarged font. However, at this stage Debbie still didn’t worry too much, she felt that she just had to cope with it; “I carried on normally for years”. Retiring from her volunteering work at 79 years old (6 years ago), she realised that she could no longer read coins, she now had to feel them which she calls “a nuisance”. Once again, Debbie’s strong minded nature ensured that she “just got on with it”.

Currently, Debbie has no central vision, some peripheral, and she can no longer see colours or faces. Although Debbie’s attitude is to “cope with things as they happen”, certain aspects of her condition she can find particularly frustrating. Debbie describes her sight loss as “isolating”, and admits that “you’re limited”. Sight loss undoubtedly alters how you live your life. However, Debbie was grateful that she was surrounded by a supportive network of family and friends, she sees her sons regularly and she has wonderful neighbours. Debbie really enjoys walking, “I love walking, my friends take me around the local park”, and yet she says “it’s frustrating when you can’t see the detail of your surroundings”.

More recently, Debbie’s Doctor detected that she now has Wet AMD in her left eye - this is the more severe of the two types of macular. Although Debbie knew that it was possible for Dry AMD to become Wet, it was still very much a shock. Therefore, her left eye has become a lot weaker.

Debbie has known of Focus for quite a few years now. She’s previously visited the Focus shop with her son where she bought a magnifying glass and other visual aids. She has also attended the Coffee Morning, and before Christmas she started attending Focus weekly Boxercise classes! Despite her changed diagnosis, her worsening condition, Debbie is still determined to get out there! Debbie says that “Focus are so good with everything they do”, and she’s really been enjoying attending Focus Boxercise each week.

Debbie is a strong-minded individual and although she admits, “it can be difficult to adjust”, she’s making the most of every opportunity, and as she says, she’s just “getting on with it!”. At Focus, we want amazing people like Debbie to live up to their full potential, whether that be through attending activities such as Boxercise, or providing equipment through our Shop. We’re dedicated to #MakingLivesBetter!