The Keith Valentine episode

In the third episode of The OT  Podcast, we speak to the chief executive of Fight for Sight, Keith Valentine

In episode three of The OT Podcast, we shine a spotlight on the patient experience by talking to someone who is both a patient and an industry leader. Keith Valentine has 25 years’ experience in the charity sight loss sector and is currently chief executive of Fight for Sight – soon to merge with Vision Foundation UK. He lost his sight at the age of 36 as a result of retinitis pigmentosa.

Diagnosed at the age of 11, Valentine discusses his experience of losing his sight and how optometry featured in his journey, which he describes as a chapter in an intergenerational story of sight loss. Labelling his diagnosis as “a pretty grim experience,” Valentine shared that the doctor advised his mother to have him sterilised to stop the spread of the disease. His mother, grandmother and great grandmother were all diagnosed with RP. “The fact that the experience is still in the front of my mind now just shows how critical those moments of diagnoses are,” he said.

While Valentine acknowledges that there have definitely been advances in the overall diagnosis process broadly over the years – the relationship between community eye health professionals, GPs and the system, and a sense of the impact of sight loss is broadly there, he said – when he draws on his personal family experiences, which saw one of his two daughters learn of her diagnosis while sitting in a hospital corridor with strangers during the pandemic, he does not feel progress has evolved enough.

Play episode three: The Keith Valentine episode

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