You might find it hard to believe, given Alison Steadman’s ditzy cheerful character in Gavin and Stacey, but over 20 years ago, Alison real life was far more complicated when she suffered a severe threat to her eyes.
According to this article in the Daily Mail, Alison was struck down with flu while she was acting in a play. She was recovering from the flu, but then started getting pain in her eyes.
The pain got so bad, especially when looking at light, that she started worrying that she was going blind. Eventually, she was examined by a consultant and it was discovered that a virus had attacked her eyes. Left untreated, it is a condition that can leave you with permanent impaired vision.
Alison was prescribed two sets of drops to be taken four times every day for six weeks. One dose of antibiotic drops was used to kill off the virus, while dilating drops enlarged the pupils, effectively freezing the muscles in the eye so they were not straining to work so hard.
According to Alistair Laidlaw, consultant eye surgeon at the London Clinic and St Thomas’ Hospital, Alison almost certainly had adenovirus which brings with it all the traditional flu symptoms of aches, pains, a temperature and which goes on to affect the eyes in 10% of cases.
Her experience really heightened her awareness of blind and visually impaired people. Alison is patron for a small local charity called the Haringey Phoenix Group, which helps the blind and visually impaired in the borough. A big focus for them at the moment is the Losing Patients campaign. This is an initiative launched by the Royal National Institute for the Blind. It aims to ensure that appointment letters, test results and medical warning etc can be printed in a type size that visually impaired people can read. There are 1.8 million people in the UK that are visually impaired and it is all about making information available in an accessible form.
At AllClear, we completely agree with the importance of accessibility for blind people, particularly when it is do with peoples medical information. We also believe that it is important that all visually impaired people have the right to travel. You can look here for more information on accessible travel or check out AllClear to book travel insurance for travelling with a medical condition.