20 Voices: Kristine’s Fight for Sight

17 March 20

written by:

Róisín Treacy

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An older woman standing in the garden, smiling at the camera.

78-year-old Kristine Pourgourides first discovered she had glaucoma over 10 years ago while buying glasses on holiday in Cyprus.

Kristine, who lives in Enfield, is taking part in Fight for Sight’s ’20 Voices for 2020’ campaign, to raise awareness on the impact of sight loss.

In 2014, Kristine was selected to take part in a clinical trial for laser treatment for glaucoma, known as the LiGHT trial, which was part-funded by Fight for Sight, however by that point she had already lost a significant amount of her sight.

She said: “I have very little sight in my left eye and loss of peripheral vision in both eyes. My pressure goes up and down in both eyes all the time. I’m on drops, I’ve been on steroids for the last two years and I’ve had two trabeculectomies.”

Kristine said she now has to rely on the help of others, and this has taken its toll on her.

She says: “I was a very independent person – I travelled abroad quite a lot. I worked in London most of my life as a nursing sister and in occupational health. Now I’ve been registered as partially sighted and at times I have to use a white stick. I’m very dependent on my husband now and it’s taken a lot of time to come to terms with.

“It’s knowing when to go out safely, so I go out when it’s not too busy. I’m careful of the shops when they’re crowded because I can fall over pushchairs.”

At present sight loss from glaucoma is irreversible which is why Fight for Sight is dedicated to funding the most promising studies aimed at preventing and treating this devastating condition. The charity is currently funding 21 glaucoma research projects across the UK.

Kristine said: “I’m so grateful for the LiGHT trial and eye research because it’s paving the way for more insight into glaucoma and how to treat it, which is so important for the future.”

The 20 Voices campaign is part of Fight for Sight’s wider 2020 campaign, which will include a major research study showing the economic and personal impact of sight loss. The findings, which are due in July 2020, will be used to lobby decision-makers and funding bodies for a national plan on sight loss that will ensure eye research gets the funding it badly needs.

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