Getting out in the garden is important to Susie, as it’s a sign of how far she’s come. For years, she’d been unable to fully access the world around her due to cataracts - she and her family had been told at eye checks that an operation would not improve her quality of life. Susie’s family however, didn’t feel this would be the case.

Specialist support

Susie sits in her garden with her paintings behind her, smiling at the camera

Adults with learning disabilities are more likely to have sight problems yet less likely to get the right eye care they need. But at SeeAbility, we have a Vision Rehabilitation Team who make sure that everyone gets both the right eye healthcare and the support they need to live independently with sight problems.

Our in-house eye care team looked at Susie’s eyes and found that she had centralised cataracts. She could barely see in the middle of her eyes, only through the sides. This was a serious problem.

Together with Susie’s family, Deanne, a member of the Vision Rehabilitation Team, wrote a letter to Susie’s GP, pushing for Susie to have the life-changing cataract operation she needed. Deanne was determined to make sure that Susie had the best quality eye care.

A change in sight

After years of being denied the treatment, Susie finally received her referral to have surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. When the day arrived, an Eye Surgery Support Plan was put into place to ensure Susie was at ease, and her support worker Jess held her hand as she went into theatre.

The procedure was a great success. Within weeks, Deanne could see how much Susie had changed.

I couldn’t believe the difference! Before, Susie's knuckles were always covered in cuts and bruises from constantly bumping her wheelchair into the walls and doorways around the house. Now there isn’t a single cut on her hand!

Susie can now see her world more clearly; she is able to communicate much more easily, she can’t stop looking at herself in the mirror and has taken up a new hobby – painting flowers! To support Susie's newfound passion the team transformed her garden to make it fully accessible for her wheelchair. They created raised flowerbeds so that she can see all the colour and detail up close for her art. Her finished paintings now fill the walls of her home bringing the colours of spring inside all year round!

One of Susies paintings with dark pink flowers on a blue background