Mum read sell-by date on milk carton every day to measure failing eyesight

Louise Miller had her guide dog Harmony for around a decade
Louise Miller had her guide dog Harmony for around a decade -Credit:Louise Miller

A Liverpool woman has opened up about an unpredictable genetic condition that could leave her blind any day.

Louise Miller, from West Derby, was born partially slighted and has “always had a degree of sight loss”. As she get older her unknown condition has gradually gotten worse.

The mum-of-one told the ECHO: “They (doctors) don’t understand my condition and they don’t know what has caused it so there is no way of stopping the progression of it.

READ MORE: I flew to a city 'nobody has heard of' for £22 from Liverpool and had a ball

READ MORE: 'Miracle' cottage on the train tracks that thousands pass every day

“There is no way of knowing what that progression looks like either. I could wake up tomorrow with no sight or have what I have now - the amount of sight - for the rest of my life. I just don’t know.”

The 42-year-old, who lives in Old Swan, explained how it was “incredibly difficult” and “stressful” for her when she was younger. She spent a lot of time thinking tomorrow would “be the day it was going to happen”, the day she completely lost her sight.

In her early 20s, Louise measured her eyesight daily by checking the sell-by date on milk.

The charity worker said: “Some days I wake up and see no difference and other days, I’ll think, 'I used to be able to see that and now I can’t'. The dates on milk are quite big but one day, even with my magnifying glass, I wasn’t able to read it.

Louise with her guide dog Harmony
Louise with her guide dog Harmony -Credit:Louise Miller

“I was a lot younger then but it sent me into a really big wobble because it knocked me and I thought I wouldn’t be able to cope.”

Louise has found coping mechanisms to help her deal with her condition emotionally including therapy, long-cane training and learning how to cook. She said because of these skills, she feels “more comfortable knowing that if and when” she loses her vision, she will have something to rely on.

Louise now uses a long cane after her guide dog, Harmony, retired last year, at age 11. The German Shepherd had been with her since she was an 18-month-old pup. Louise is currently unable to train for a new guide dog as she has developed an auto-immune disease and needs to wait until she is settled on medication.

The community fundraising coordinator uses around eight different magnifying glasses, some with lights, others with stands, and an electric device which photographs documents and reads out the information to aid her throughout her daily life.

The Knotty Ash charity which Louise works for is calling on people to join its lottery initiative. Bradbury Fields helps bridge the gap for blind and partially sighted people, and by joining its weekly lottery you can “help change lives” while having the chance of winning £25,000 each week.

With funding becoming more difficult to attain, Bradbury Fields is “finding more creative ways to raise funds”. The funds will be used to purchase new technology to help service users become more independent using the internet.

Enter our £1,000 Aldi voucher giveaway and go wild in the aisles

Sign up for the ECHO’s LGBTQIA+ newsletter