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Special glasses could help Diane see niece for the first time

Diane Ralph
Diane Ralph

A blind nurse has launched a campaign to raise £11,000 for electronic glasses that will help her see her niece for the first time.

Diane Ralph had dreamed of watching her six-year-old niece Lorna grow up, but one day in 2004 woke up and was unable to read.

The 50-year-old was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a condition which damages central vision and causes a loss of detail and colour perception.

The condition has turned her life upside down – preventing her from driving, reading properly and making every day tasks incredibly difficult.

Miss Ralph was in her final year of her arts and humanities degree at the Open University when the blow came, 10 years after she was forced to quit her job as a nurse in Aberdeen due to arthritis and degenerative spinal discs.

Miss Ralph, , who lives in Sandhaven but is originally from Lossiemouth, said: “The best way I could describe it is like 100 Christmas lights flicking on and off in your face.

“I tried to read a book one day and I just couldn’t do it. I went to hospital expecting the worst and it did turn out to be really serious. From being able to drive and do normal day-to-day things, I now couldn’t.

“It took me a couple of months to take it in, and I did end up getting depression. It’s hard.”

But after her sister Alison found Canadian company eSight online, hopes were raised among Miss Ralph’s family.

The firm makes sophisticated goggles that have a camera that projects live images of what is in front of the wearer on the lenses. Settings can be changed specifically for the individual wearers visual needs.

An appointment was arranged for Miss Ralph to try the technology in Bearsden, and she couldn’t believe the results.

She said: “It was like coming out of darkness in to the light. I could see again and was easily able to read a newspaper, see cars and road signs and I also got to see my family for the first time in years which was very special.

“The glasses will completely change my life but are out of my reach financially. My family and friends have launched a fundraising campaign.”

So far just over £3,000 has been raised. To help, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helpdianeseeagain

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