Co Down man's warning after routine appointment spotted unexpected bleed

Irvine Campbell was diagnosed with an unexpected visual impairment following a bleed in his eye.
-Credit: (Image: South Eastern HSC Trust)

A Co Down man has highlighted the challenges faced by anyone living with sensory loss. Irvine Campbell from Killyleagh was diagnosed with an unexpected visual impairment following a bleed in his eye.

Irvine, who is a keen worldwide traveller and sand yachter, suffers from diabetes and attends the Diabetic Clinic in Belfast City Hospital.

During a routine appointment, the clinic referred him to the Opthalmology Service for further investigations. Irvine was then sent to the Royal Victoria Hospital where it was discovered he had a bleed in his eye.

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Irvine recalled: “At that point, I did not realise I had a bleed, I did not have any visual disturbances. I had to undergo two surgeries, where it was established there was a lot of damage to my eye, caused by my diabetes.”

Over time, Irvine has faced numerous challenges, including adapting to new ways of communication and navigating his environment. Despite these obstacles, he has shown remarkable resilience and determination.

Irvine added: “I have had to work with my sight impairment. I have adapted to new technologies and methods of communication. With my current condition, I have made some adjustments to the house, such as a seat in the shower and various hand rails.

“Removing furniture, such as glass tables that were a hazard, helps make my environment safer. I was referred to the Low Vision Clinic who were really helpful. They provided me with some aids such as magnifiers and cup alerts that help me when making a hot drink to determine when the cup is full.

“I love to watch snooker on the TV, so they also provided me with glasses that magnifies the screen. I also have a talking watch which is really useful. It hasn't been easy, I am determined to live my life as normal as possible.”

Irvine with Senior Rehabilitation Worker, Nickie Boyes
Irvine with Senior Rehabilitation Worker, Nickie Boyes -Credit:South Eastern HSC Trust

Irvine has shared his story to mark Deaf/Blind Awareness Week, an opportunity to recognise the strength and resilience of those who are living with both hearing and visual impairments.

Explaining the role of the Sensory Support Service within the South Eastern Trust, Senior Rehabilitation Worker, Nickie Boyes added: “It is so important to raise awareness as sensory loss is the unseen disability, it is not obvious that someone has a hearing or visual loss when you look at them.

“The service is Multi-Disciplinary, made up of Rehabilitation Workers, Social Workers, Community Support Workers and Equipment Officers who all work towards helping patients get back to their daily activities and to perform the tasks they would have carried out before their sensory loss.

“The service is there from the point of diagnosis. The team can guide patients through their diagnosis, through the registration process and referral on to various clinics for extra support.

“We also look at the practical difficulties, along with emotional support needs that patients face throughout their sensory loss journey. A range of aids and equipment are provided to help increase their level of independence and allow them to function on a daily basis.”

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