To read part four, click here.
When I was diagnosed with AZOOR, I was still pretending that I could see. I don’t like being told I can’t do something.
I highly doubt you will ever meet anyone more stubborn than me.
I turned my brightness down a bit on my screen at work and I kept doing my job. I was struggling, but I kept it quiet. I’d worked in my current job role for three years then, so I knew the computer systems enough to know where to click without actually reading what was on the screen and I’d guess for the parts I wasn’t sure, which I’m so embarrassed to admit. I hate doing a ‘half arsed’ job, so this was slowly chipping away at my confidence.
I’d go home in the evenings and not be able to use my eyes. I stopped reading, I stopped watching the telly. I listened to YouTube Videos and listened to my favourite films. I sat in the dark. Then I’d go back in work the next day and pretend everything was fine.
After about a month, I finally admitted I couldn’t see, or do my job anymore to a standard I was happy with and I did this in my usual, true, dramatic fashion. I walked into work and burst into tears to my manager. I think everyone had probably seen it coming, but it always feels like a really big deal for me to admit I need help.
I was referred to Occupational Health immediately by my manager and we put some steps in place in to make my life in work a little easier. I am so grateful that my manager arranged this – I know a lot of people are scared about having any kind occupational health referral in work, because they see it as work trying to push them out, or to say they’re not suitable to do their job. I felt like this was the opposite and it has allowed me to work more comfortably. I will definitely dedicate a whole blog post to what happens with arranging an occupational health assessment at work.
The first thing they put in place was to move my desk to the back corner of the office. Unfortunately, I have to be next to the window in the office, to be the furthest away from the air con, so I have to sit with the blinds down all around me – thankfully, my team don’t mind working in the dark for me! The light bulbs above my desk have been removed too. Basically, I have a zen, dark little corner at work and it heaven for my bad eyesight!
The second thing they looked at is my computer. The IT department managed to add settings to the screen to add a permanent blue light filter to the screen and also made the font/icons/everything absolutely massive. I definitely look visually impaired if you walk past my desk at work!
In addition to this, they put some little steps in place that I need to take in order to give my eyes a bit of a break at work. I have to take screen breaks from my deske every half an hour. I also have to look at a photo of a landscape every five minutes, or whenever possible, so I printed a picture of Mount Vesuvius out and stuck this behind my phone at work, to look at whilst I chat to the patients.
Finally, work paid £50 towards my new glasses, because of the occupational health nurse’s recommendation that a blue light filter on my glasses will help my vision. My glasses also magnify my good eye, meaning there is less strain on it!
I really do not like asking for help, but I’m so glad I did and I feel like I’ve taken control back, a little bit. I feel like I can work more comfortably and I’m so much happier that I can come home from work and just read a book again. I actually feel like I’m in charge of this illness, rather than it having a hold over me!
If you would like to read an update on my vision as of June 2021, please click here.
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