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02
AUG

Diabetic macular oedema treatment, The Commonwealth Games

Diabetic macular oedema is a condition that can develop when having type one or type two diabetes. It can impact sight progressively in the form of retinopathy or maculopathy. We hear about a new treatment for the condition, which The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has estimated to benefit around 22,000 people. Bernie Warren has the condition and she tells us about the benefits this drug could have to her life. We also get more information about the condition and the new treatment from Robin Hamilton, who is an Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital.

The Commonwealth Games are underway in Birmingham. They are an integrated games, with both para and able-bodied athletes competing alongside each other. Some visually impaired athletes are included in the mix and so we get a round-up of the medal winners from BBC Sports reporter, Delyth Lloyd. We speak to visually impaired Para-Triathlon gold medallist, Dave Ellis about his win and to Jonny Riall, who is the leader of Team England and also Head of Sport at the British Paralympic Association on the integration of athletes at the Commonwealth Games.

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Beth Hemmings
Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme

Website image description: pictured is a Team England swimmer diving into a pool at the Commonwealth Games. The image is taken using an underwater camera. The swimmer is wearing a red swimsuit and red swimming cap. Yellow and pink bunting hangs in the air over the pool.
26
JUL

Covid and Sight Loss; Retinitis Pigmentosa Research

Previously on In Touch, Dr Peter Hampson, clinical Director of the Association of Optometrists warned of a possible link between Covid-19 and sight loss. We talk to Criminal Lawyer Paul Bacon and former children's Laureate Michael Rosen about their personal experience of this. We also get an update from Dr Hampson on what the latest data tells us.

Retinitis Pigmentosa is the most common inherited eye condition, affecting around one in four thousand people in the UK. Currently, there is no known cure or effective treatments that can stop it's progression. Do the latest scientific advances give those affected grounds for optimism or would that be misplaced? The charity Fight for Sight is funding research to try and uncover new treatment strategies. We talk to their CEO, Keith Valentine and researcher Mike Cheetham to get their thoughts.

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Fern Lulham
Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme

Website image description: Covid test kit unboxed.
19
JUL

The Cost of Living Crisis; Cornea Transplant Delays

Prior to the current cost of living crisis, the Royal National Institute of Blind People found that one in five blind and partially sighted people had difficulty in making ends meet. People with sight loss already have extra living costs and are more reliant on benefits than others as a result of low employment rates. Recently, the government have introduced financial aid and have increased benefits, but the RNIB say that these measures don't go far enough. We hear the story of Alex Ramzan, who has been struggling with the cost of living crisis and we speak to David Aldwinkle, who is the Director of Insight and Customer Voice at the RNIB, about the problems they are hearing and their campaign.

The cornea is a very delicate part of the eye. It is essentially the surface through which you see, so if it becomes scarred or damaged in any way, what you see can become increasingly impaired. The cornea can be replaced though, and the effects can be dramatic. But the supply of donated corneas has not kept up with demand. Currently, one in 10 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register have indicated that they do not wish to donate their corneas, making donations low and waiting times for replacements high. We hear about the causes behind this and the implications for people waiting from Kyle Bennett, who is the Assistant Director of Tissue & Eye Services at NHS Blood and Transplant. We also hear from Shelly Hague, who recently had her corneas replaced. She tells us about the impact this has had on her life.

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Beth Hemmings
Production Coordinator: Liz Poole

Website image description: pictured is an extreme close up of a brown eye on a black background.
12
JUL

Equality Act Amendments; Smart Lipstick

The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022, is a new piece of legislation that has amended the Equality Act 2010. It will place duties on taxi drivers and PHV drivers and operators, so that any disabled person has specific rights and protections to be transported and receive assistance without being charged extra. This will also ensure that visually impaired passengers will be assisted by drivers to help them identify or find the vehicle. The act was introduced by Jeremy Wright MP and he provides insight into how this act may impact you.

Blanche Shackleton is from the charity Guide Dogs and she tells us about their new app, which will enable guide dog owners to report any access issues. This is inclusive of taxis, indoor establishments and other places. And we hear about a new kind of AI technology, that is currently in development, which could provide make-up wearers with assurance and confidence.

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Fern Lulham
Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme

Website image description: a visually impaired man is holding his smart phone up to his ear, presumably to hear the voice over function. He is wearing a white T-shirt, he has dark hair and beard and appears to be closing his eyes.
05
JUL

Rebuilding Ukraine; Tennis

Two UK-based charities, Blind Veterans UK and Bravo Victor, were invited to Ukraine and met with the government there to see how they can help rebuild the country's visual impairment rehabilitation services and assist with research facilities to help deal with the ongoing emergency. Nick Caplin is the chief executive of Blind Veterans UK and he tells us about the outcome of the visit and their collective plans moving forward.

Rally, serve, love. That's right, its tennis season! We hear about an initiative from New Zealand that is providing visually impaired tennis fans with more information about what is happening on court. It is called Action Audio and using spatial audio data, it allows people to hear what kind of serve was given, where the ball lands in relation to the court lines and more. Tim Devine is one of the founders of Action Audio and he talks us through how it works. We also speak to Ivan Rodriguez-Deb, who is currently Britain's No.1 in the B4 men's visually impaired singles category. He tells us about his career aspirations and about the kinds of adaptations he makes, given he has some residual sight.

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Beth Hemmings
Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme

Website image description: An aerial shot of a blue paddle tennis court. The net runs down the centre of the image, with large shadow reflecting on the left side. Two tennis balls are located on the right side of the net.

5 episodes