Adam Watson reflects on his personal journey with sight loss
Adam Watson lives with a degree of sight loss and has been inspired to join the Fight for Sight by tackling the eye2eye challenge to fundraise for more sight saving research.
We all take our eye sight for granted.
It's one of those things we only think about when something goes wrong. Reflect back to the last time you saw a beautiful view - what did you think? How lucky I am to be in this place, or to be experiencing it with someone special, or did you think about how amazing it is to be able to see it in the first place? If you are like me, quite understandably, the latter rarely crosses our minds!
So what's changed?
The culprit was a squash ball back in January, and I was very lucky not to completely lose sight in my right eye. As an average - yet fairly regular - squash dabbler, I pulled off a delightful lob that I had no doubt was a point winner. As I turned towards the back of the court, giddy at the thought of a rare point on the board, my opponent expertly returned the ball. It headed for the wall at what seemed like supersonic speed, connected with my eye en route and down I went. Cue hours in A&E, days of appointments and utter panic at the thought of losing my sight.
At least you have two eyes, right?
My anxiety was compounded by the fact that I only have 20% sight in my left eye, and since birth I have relied heavily on my right eye to 'do the seeing'. I was born with amblyopia (lazy eye), and had corrective surgery when I was 4 years old. Although it looks okay now, the sight is poor and I rely pretty much solely on my right eye to see!
Whilst one may assume I'd therefore value sight more than most, when it's all you've known this doesn't ring true. Such was the complacency, wearing squash goggles had never crossed my mind in the past.
So are you okay now?
A couple months on and my sight (thankfully) has recovered. Some more lasting damage means I have a higher risk of glaucoma in later life, and some shorter term aches and pains are still being regularly monitored by the good people at Western Eye Hospital. I've spent a significant amount of time with ophthalmologists, and subsequently experienced first-hand the impact of technology on the diagnoses, treatment and monitoring of eye issues. The level of advancement here would not be possible without eye research - which is why I'm raising money for Fight for Sight.
Cut to the chase - what are you organising?
The 'eye2eye challenge' will start at the London Eye on Saturday 26 May and finish 60 miles south at the Brighton i360. Over the course of 2 days, a fantastic group of pals and I will be walking through South London, over the North / South Downs, swinging past The Amex Stadium and into Brighton by the Sunday night. That's 150,000 steps in under 36 hours, and assumes we don't spend too much time walking down the hard shoulder of the A23.
How can I help?
If you'd like to support by donating even the smallest amount of money, please visit my JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eye-2-eye