Lois blogs about her rare eye condition
Today is Aniridia Awareness Day and student Lois, 20 from London, blogs about what it is like to have the rare genetic eye condition.
I was born with Aniridia. It is where the iris, which is the coloured part of your eye, is missing or incomplete. Some people with Aniridia may have blurred vision but others have quite a lot of sight loss.
I am from a family where visual impairment is common, my mum and my sister are both blind and my dad has Albinism. Aniridia is my main condition but I also have Photophobia, Nystagmus, Glaucoma, and Cataracts.
I wear sunglasses a lot, this is because the rays from the sun can damage my eyes so I need to protect them. I also need to use large print with my college work and magnification on the computer. I use a long cane but in some locations where I am confident I can get about ok.
I went to an amazing school but I was a long cane user and this made me different to everyone else, I was bullied and stopped using it. I had learning support which helped with my work and they also gave me a laptop but it didn’t have ZoomText or anything like that. Socially I never had many friends and I was happy when I could leave to move onto a local college.
I decided on Childcare at a local college because I was unsure what my options were and no one really explained anything to me. I went onto a level 3 programme but I never really had much support and my heart wasn’t really in it. In the end I chose to leave and look for work or an apprenticeship.
I had known about RNC for a while so I thought I should consider it. Once I came for a look around I realised that it wouldn’t be like mainstream. It was obvious that it would be a place where I could get the support I need both in college work and with social things like making more friends and playing more sports.
The best thing for me about RNC I think is the friendships I have made. I socialise a lot in different groups which I have never done before. I have friends on my course, friends in my halls of residence, friends on the sports teams; it’s been really easy to socialise and do things.
I have been accepted into university for September. I can’t wait, I never thought that would happen but I am really excited about it. After university I would love to get a job in the sports environment, hopefully sports therapy.
If you are thinking about your education future or would like to find out how we support our students gaining the independence and confidence they need for their future please call our Student Enquiries Team on 01432 376 621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org