My vision

“I want to help other people and increase awareness”

Michael Bayley talks with OT  about his experience of glaucoma and why reducing waiting lists for treatment should be a “serious priority”

Elderly man with dark sunglasses smiling wearing black suit jacket, pale blue shirt and tie. In the background the London Eye wheel can be seen.

In 1982, I broke a pair of glasses and I went to get them repaired. They did the sight test and checked my pressures. The optometrist said I needed a referral to hospital. Over the years I was started on eye drops and then I had surgery. I received regular checks but five years ago things started to deteriorate. It was two years ago that I was registered as sight impaired. I had to stop driving and stop working.

I joined a local group East Cheshire Eye Society – they have social groups and walking groups. You are not on your own. You meet people with different eye conditions and you can find out how they cope with things. I have become more social than before I was registered sight impaired. It is good to have something local to me because if you have to travel a long way that is more of a challenge. When you are first diagnosed, it is a lot to take in. The East Cheshire Eye Society gave me advice on what resources were available. They were able to guide me in the right direction.

I can’t see out of my right eye at all and in my left eye I can see a small amount from the centre. The field of vision has come right in. In the early stages you can have vision loss, but you don’t notice it because your brain is adjusting. When you have massive chunks of sight loss, you notice it because one day you wake up and your vision has changed. When my vision deteriorated two years ago, it was quite a shock. Over the years I was told what could possibly happen, but even with all the surgeries and treatments, you can only slow down the sight loss for so long.

I feel for people who are referred to hospital and then have to wait for a long time for their appointment


I walk into things – my vision changes in the bright light or in dull light. In my own house, I can get about because I am familiar with it. If I am reading anything it has to be magnified.

It is important that you go for your sight tests so that it can be picked up early. Make sure everyone in your family is getting their sight checked. Continue to go for your sight tests – don’t just do it once and then think you are alright. Once your vision goes, there is no cure to bring it back. It will never return to what it was.

During COVID-19, the time between appointments increased. You can have a lot of damage to your sight in that time that can’t be reversed. The doctors and the surgeons were trying their best but they couldn’t get people in. I feel for people who are referred to hospital and then have to wait for a long time for their appointment. Different areas have different waiting times.

I feel like eye care has been one of the things that was forgotten, to an extent, during the pandemic. If nothing is done to address the waiting list, the NHS will come under a massive strain when they are dealing with the sight loss as a result. Doing something now would save money in the long run. This is not a problem that is going to go away. If you lose your vision, it’s harder to work. There is an economic cost to the country. This should be a serious priority. I want to help other people and increase awareness about taking care of your eyes.

Michael Bayley, from Cheshire, experienced vision loss as a result of glaucoma. He was featured in Specsavers’ State of the UK’s Eye Health 2022 report.