GP's confidence restored following 'shock' visual impairment diagnosis

Beena Rawlinson was told her vision had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer drive.

A GP from Perthshire has credited a local charity for giving her confidence a boost following a “shock” visual impairment diagnosis.

Beena Rawlinson attended a routine opticians appointment and was told her vision had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer drive.

She was referred to the charity VisionPK and for the last ten years she’s been receiving support to live with her condition.

Ms Rawlinson said: “I didn’t know Vision PK existed – never mind all the the steps like assistance with travel and the aids I could get.

“It’s also given me confidence because it took about a year before I could tell a lot of my friends that I was visually impaired.

“Even going to a train station, I can’t see the departure board and I would go up to someone and say can you tell me when the train to Perth is, and they’d look at you and they would go, they didn’t quite go ‘duh, it’s over on platform 16’ but that was the impression you got.

“Whereas now I go ‘I’m visually impaired, can you help me’ and everyone is is really helpful.”

VisionPK was founded in 1866 to help blind people in the Perth area.

Since then the charity’s services have expanded to include support for people with hearing loss.

Last year, they supported more then 3,500 people across Perth and Kinross and have given out 500 pieces of equipment to help people feel more independent.

But while demand for their help has grown, the charity’s chief executive Kate Charles says donations have dropped.

Ms Charles said: “We do get some statutory funding from the council, particularly for our specialist rehab services, but we offer much wider services that are absolutely essential.

“Like I said, reaching out to rural communities, offering activities and groups, befriending and social support.

“We have seen a decline in donations and the cost of living has impacted on that.”

This summer, VisionPK will be opening a new sensory hub that they hope will help more people in Perth and Kinross with sight and hearing loss.

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