Simon’s Story


In this video, titled “Why my white stick is no longer a ‘badge of shame’, Simon Marney, a 74-year-old man, shares his experience with sight loss and how he has embraced life without sight. Simon’s eye condition was a combination of glaucoma, uveitis, and cataracts, likely exacerbated by family history and other factors like smoking and fluoride ingestion.

Simon recalls being diagnosed with glaucoma around the age of 38, which he expected due to its prevalence in his family. However, it wasn’t until later, around 2012, when he moved to Derbyshire, that his eyesight significantly deteriorated, leading him to give up his driving licence. Surprisingly, he found that relying on public transport opened up new opportunities for conversations with people, making his travels more enjoyable than driving.

Despite the challenges of sight loss, Simon views it as an inconvenience rather than a disability. He explains that he now relies on his other senses and has adapted to his new reality. Simon’s journey through sight loss impacted his family, especially his wife, who had difficulty understanding the extent of his condition and how to support him.

Simon, a former professional artist, found solace in writing after losing his sight. He has authored two books, one about his sight loss experience and another detailing his system for functioning in the kitchen without sight. His background in social work allowed him to analyse and address issues within sight loss, particularly how people treat individuals with disabilities.

One of the most challenging moments for Simon was initially using a white stick, symbolising his fully accredited status as a disabled person. Over time, however, he embraced the white stick as a means of communicating his unique challenges to the world and earning respect for his resilience.

Simon offers advice to those recently diagnosed with sight loss, emphasising the importance of preparing for the possibility of complete sight loss by learning necessary skills for daily life. He urges individuals to adapt, learn, and appreciate the possibilities that life still offers, even without sight.

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