My vision

“I thought I would say how good people have been”

Wet AMD patient Maria Moseley on a thank you note she wrote after a decade of treatment at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital


Maria Moseley: I’ve heard people say ‘Oh, I couldn’t go and have an injection in my eye.’ I used to say that, but if you want treatment, if you want to be able to see your grandchildren, watch the television and take part in life – you’ve got to do it.

I still remember the date of my first injection – Saturday morning, 6 December, 2012. It was terrifying. I didn’t know what to expect. But really it was only like the injection that you get in your arm for your flu jab.

Even though I’ve had 80 injections now, the night before, I don’t sleep properly thinking about it. But when you get there, and the staff are smiling and asking you how you’ve been, you’re calm.

When I go to Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH), I see [consultant ophthalmologist] Ms Romi Chabbra and [optometrist] Jez Parkes. They have been my lifeline. They don’t rush you through and they let you talk about yourself. I would compare recipes with Jez. It does make a difference – it made me feel like a woman again. I was back in the world.

It was at the beginning of this year that they registered me as blind. You don’t go black blind – it is called white blind. I see outlines but I can’t see the edges of things. I can see my grandchildren, but I mistake one for the other sometimes.

I would compare recipes with Jez. It does make a difference – it made me feel like a woman again

Maria Moseley

All the way through, Ms Chabbra has been so kind. When she told me that she was registering me as blind, she had tears in her eyes. She has always been sensitive with me and given me time. I have never felt rushed.

Because I am registered blind, there is a woman from [sight loss charity] Henshaws, Gail Brett, who arranges transport for me and who meets me at the hospital. She is one of the kindest people. I always think that it is a privilege to have met someone like Gail because she is also visually impaired but she gets up every day and does a great job for patients like me.

The letter to Ms Chabbra was an impulse. I dictated the letter to my friend who typed it, then posted it for me. I was thinking about how we are very quick to write complaints. I thought I would say how good people have been to me.

Romi Chhabra
Romi Chhabra: I have to start by saying a huge thanks to Maria. She is such a special person and so inspirational. She has been with us at MREH for more than 10 years now and I have been leading her care for wet AMD since then. When I received the letter, I was absolutely delighted. I felt so honoured and humbled to read such kind words from her. The letter reaffirmed that what we do touches the patients and their families in such an important way.

As clinicians we understand that sight is extremely precious for our patients. When a patient comes in with blurred vision and distortion, then undergoes tests which show evidence of a sight threatening condition – your heart sinks. You are compelled to do your best for the patient and their family, and breaking the news to the patient is always very tough. We feel very privileged to be able to offer treatment options for wet AMD that didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Sadly, at that time, many patients would end up losing their vision.

At the end of the day, experiences like Maria’s are the result of outstanding teamwork and I am so proud of the entire team who support our patients unconditionally. Macular clinics cannot run without the help and devotion of the entire team. There are many different cogs in that wheel that lead to an amazing quality of care.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been through a most trying and strange time. It has not been easy and morale was down. But when you get recognition like this, it brings a smile to your face and inspires you to strive for even higher heights.

Maria Mosely, 76, has received treatment for wet AMD at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital for the past decade. She wrote a letter to her ophthalmologist, Romi Chhabra, expressing her appreciation.

• As told to Selina Powell.