'I woke up blind weeks just after meeting my boyfriend - it made us closer'

A teenager woke up blind weeks after meeting her new boyfriend - and said it made them "much closer".

Kitty Hinde, 19, has been visually impaired most of her life after being diagnosed with glaucoma - which damages the optic nerve - when she was nine. She had several treatments - included a cornea transplant - to stop her losing her vision.

Just weeks after meeting now-boyfriend Sam, 22, Kitty woke up blind and hasn't had her vision back since - but says Sam has supported her every step of the way. Kitty said: "I never thought I'd fall in love blind.


"I met my boyfriend at the same time I was losing my vision. I was blind a few weeks into meeting him.

"We were kind of thrown into that together. Some of the times I woke up blind for the first time I was with him."

Kitty, from Manchester, was diagnosed with glaucoma after a routine eye test and had various different treatments to try and save her eye sight.

She said: "I had eye drops, immune suppressants. I had drainage tubes in my eye to bring the pressure down."

When Kitty got to secondary school her eyesight became worse and she became visually impaired.

She said: "I have been preparing to go blind all my life."

She had a transplant for her right eye aged 14 - where her damaged cornea was replaced with a healthy donor tissue.

Kitty said: "The transplant was to give me more of my vision back. It worked for two years before my body rejected it."

In Spring last year, Kitty stated to experience days where she would wake up blind.

She said: "I woke up after sleeping a lot for quite a long time and couldn't see. I woke up after less sleep and could see.

"It started happening once a month, then once a week and now it is everyday. As soon as thought I was coming to terms with losing my vision I'd have a day where I could see."

Kitty and Sam, a sound engineer, met in a nightclub in May 2023. Kitty said he was immediately supportive when he found out she was losing her eyesight. She said: "It made us so much closer."

Kitty has struggled adjusting to being blind but has started to accept herself and her life now. She said: "I'll be looking at Sam - I just want to see his eyes.

"I didn't realise until I went blind just how important vision is. Not being able to see Sam is one of the worst things about being blind. I'd give anything to see him.

"I'm grateful I got to see him."

Kitty used to love reading and watching TV and says Sam will now read to her and audio describe shows to her.

She said: "We've been watching 'How I met your Mother' with Sam describing everything. A 20 minute episode takes hours."

Doctors are looking at ways to give Kitty back her vision - such as a transplant is both eyes but are unsure if it will be successful.

Kitty said: "Going blind was an identity crisis. It's learning to love your life again."