Coronation Street star at risk of going blind after being diagnosed with serious condition

Coronation Street star Lisa George
Coronation Street star Lisa George has been diagnosed with an eye condition that puts her at risk of going blind -Credit:Getty Images

Coronation Street star Lisa George has opened up a health condition which puts her at risk of going blind, saying she fears she may never be able to appear on stage again after the serious diagnosis.

The actress, known for playing Beth Sutherland on the popular ITV soap, is facing a challenging time after being diagnosed with NAION (non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy), a condition that can lead to sudden vision loss due to blocked blood vessels in the optic nerves, according to the NHS.

ITV stepped in to support Lisa, who has been part of the soap for over a decade, by providing transport when she couldn't drive for six months, enlarging her script print, and adapting scenes to accommodate her vision needs, reports the Mirror.

READ MORE: Ant McPartlin addresses fans' confusion over tattoo after welcoming baby with wife Anne-Marie

READ MORE: Kate Garraway feels like 'luckiest person' as she reveals unusual birthday gift

Lisa's ordeal began in 2016 when she experienced a traumatic injury. The actress was hit by a heavy knot on a rope while gardening, which resulted in the loss of sight in her right eye. Despite the incident, she maintained 20/20 vision in her left eye, which helped her continue working.

Lisa, who has sought advice about her condition from various eye specialists over the years, spoke about her concerns in an interview with the Daily Mail. She said: "Luckily my left eye was really good with 20/20 vision and the only thing I struggled with after that first incident was being able to read."

She explained: "Corrie were great, they printed my scripts in a bigger font to make it easier but I just wasn't getting any explanation as to what had happened. I had scans, dye put into my eyeball, but the doctors were split as to whether it was the trauma from the rope or something else that had caused the haemorrhage at the back of my eye."

Lisa George as Beth Sutherland in Coronation Street
Lisa George as Beth Sutherland in Coronation Street -Credit:ITV

In 2022, Lisa experienced another incident with her left eye after celebrating Katie McGlynn's 29th birthday. While driving on the M3, her left eye "went really weird", which she described as a "very frightening" experience. Despite this, she managed to get home and take herself to A&E.

She spent a week in the hospital, which she referred to as one of the "worst experiences" of her life. During her stay, she underwent a CT scan and two lumbar punctures. She explained: "No-one seemed to have a clue what had happened, they just said 'you've got nerve clusters' and after a week they sent me home and told me to take Aspirin for the pain."

Later, Lisa discovered that while her central vision was intact, she had lost peripheral vision in her left eye. She was diagnosed with NAION and advised by her NHS eye doctor to seek private treatment due to limited funding for the condition within the NHS.

The reality of her situation hit her when she attended a theatre production in Manchester, she said. During a performance of Romeo and Juliet, when the stage went to blackout plunging the actors into darkness, she said she realised she may never act on stage again.

"I came out of there and I thought 'I don't think I'm ever going to be able to work on the stage again' because there's no way I'd be able to see if I had to come off the stage in the dark," she said.

"The panic and fear set in and I got really upset. Obviously, I'm sure they put things in place for visually impaired actors but it was a real fear and it really hit me real hard, how am I going to cope in the industry in the future?"

Coronation Street star Lisa George -Credit:Getty Images
Coronation Street star Lisa George -Credit:Getty Images

It comes after Lisa told her social media followers about an exciting trip she will take later on this year when she heads to Canada to meet fans of the show. The ITV soap has a huge following, to the extent cast members fly 4,000 miles to host meet-and-greets, and Canadian fans travel to the UK in a pilgrimage to the set at MediaCityUK in Trafford.

The next cast members to head over are set to be Lisa and Mollie Gallagher, who plays Weatherfield's very own Nina Lucas. Sharing a poster advertising the event, described as 'Beth and Nina's girls night out', for June on Instagram, Lisa said: "So looking forward to my 3rd visit to #canada to meet all the fans!!"

The soap star continued: "I loved every minute of those tours and I’m so excited to be doing it again!- so watch out #canada - ontario #novascotia #newfoundland @mollie.gallagher_ and I are coming to get ya!!!"