By Jacqueline Dowling
It may be because I’m partially sighted that I feel such empathy with the very elderly and sight-challenged members of our library: of which there are many. And why The Friends have managed to set in motion sourcing of a screen which fits over a page, and magnifies the words. Our local Specsavers franchisee and Worcester Institute for the Blindare helping with this project and, if successful, we hope to open a far wider world of reading to those who need it. Not sure whether the screens, if they still exist, are measured in diopters or whether they have an adjustable height, we’ll see – hopefully. Since our library is no longer able to buy large print and talking books, the need for alternatives has grown even greater. It’s a pity about the Talking Books but, human nature being what it is, our collection has suffered from heavy-handed usage, scratching, breaking of discs, ‘mislaying’ – the list is endless. So, no more TBs.
Now, why am I partially sighted and do I want to share the reason? Yes, I do because it’s an avoidable virus and, because I picked it up as a small child, I’ve grown accustomed to being one-eyed and am totally thankful for the good health of what remains! It freaks me out to see dogs and cats licking children’s and adults’ faces. These animals, to put it crudely, lick their bottoms – and then are allowed to lick humans’ faces. The virus is Toxoplasma or Toxocara; carried in the mucous of dogs and cats, their droppings etc and passed on to humans. It took twenty one years for me to be diagnosed, by which time the sight in my left eye was zilch. Cortisone injections into the eye cleared the periphery, but the pain during childhood, the blinding headaches are something I’d never wish on any child. Recently I was shown a picture of the back of each eye. The left looks as if a mound of volcanic lava has been deposited – the result of blood vessels rupturing in the choroid coat.
But I’m one of the lucky ones, I have a good strong right eye and lead a normal ‘fully sighted’ life. It can also affect the brain and legs.
So, if this non self-pitying blog has passed on any useful info, GOOD. I’m happy to pass on the images to anyone interested, and just so you know I’m not drivelling on and beating a drum.