A couple of weeks back I had to go and see some people at the Low Vision clinic in Totnes. The clinic is tucked away in the corner of a small trading estate just outside the town centre and is staffed by some very kind people indeed.
After a short wait Mrs The Millbrooker and I were shown into a room with a fellow who I'll simply call "Mr Low-Vision-Expert". Or perhaps Mr LVE for short. This is because I can't for the life of me remember his actual job title nor his name. Shameful, I know, but even I can't be perfect all the time, you know.
One of the "advantages" of being registered as severely visually impaired (the old term was "registered blind", but we're not supposed to use the B word anymore) is that you get access to people like Mr LVE who have a vast knowledge of how to make things a bit easier for VIPs like yours truly.
I came away from the clinic with three gadgets on loan to see how I get on. I have a minifier which does the opposite to a magnifier. It looks like this. . .
. . .and, for someone with a restricted field of vision like me, it "minifies" my surroundings and thus increases the field that I can see. Ingenious.
I also have, on loan, a powerful little magnifier with a bright LED light close to the lens which is great for spot-reading - bus timetables, receipts and the like.
Best of all, though, is the set of UV and blue light filters that I now sport on my physog with alarming frequency.
For years and years, I've not ventured outside without sunglasses, even on the most overcast and dull of days. This is because daylight in particular and bright light in general is very uncomfortable, occasionally even painful (this is called being "photo-sensitive", medical term fans).
These orange coloured goggles, which fit over my ordinary distance vision glasses and block every teensy ray of UV and blue light from getting anywhere near my retina, have put a stop to that. Which means that I now only need sunglasses in the brightest of conditions. So now what vision I have is enhanced by my being able to use as much available light as possible.
They might not look very cool (although they have a certain Bono-ish rock-star chic, I feel), but I just love them.
Next comes the talking watch for those low light times when I can't see even the clearest of watch faces. It's all a learning curve, and I shall learn.