Image: Left to right, Hansraj Shah, Subhash Suthar, Bhavini Makwana & Usha Shah, standing in front of the white board, looking towards the camera and smiling.

BAME Vision meets EKTA in Harrow

BAME Vision had the pleasure of being invited to the EKTA in Harrow group recently to deliver a presentation. Subash Suthar and Bhavini Makwana spoke to 45 members about eye health, eye care, shared tips and resources and answered questions.

The attendees had never received a talk about their eye health before and hence had never had anyone speak to them in their own language or explain important information in terminology that they could understand.

We began with the importance of having regular eye check-ups especially after the age of 40, to detect any early signs or symptoms of ophthalmic conditions, which could lead to conditions such as Diabetic Retinopathy and thus, why it is crucial to attend the annual eye screening appointments.

We also spoke about how and why dry eyes occur and what people can do to relieve the symptoms. Cataracts was a keen topic for all, as many had received a cataract operation but had not received adequate follow-up information that was fully understood, some had cataracts and didn’t actually know what their options were, and others were approaching their operation and needed reassurance about the process and aftercare.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) was also discussed with the group and suitable advice was provided to them and their questions were answered.

The signs and symptoms of Glaucoma were described, talking about the different angles and how they affect the vision, additionally learning how drops were used and instilled. The demonstration was given to learn the importance and the most convenient, safest, and easiest way to instil eye drops. Subash did a fantastic demonstration and taught everyone who attended, which they all found very useful and helpful and by the end, each of the group members, learned how to correctly put eye drops in.

A few myths were busted, so-called home remedies to manage or cure sight loss were broken down to facts about the damage these can cause, even harming the eyes altogether and thus causing blindness.

It was apparent, that no awareness of services or signposting had been shared prior to this awareness meeting, it was good to talk about some of these. The time spent with this group reinforced how much the work of BAME Vision is needed.

 

Bhavini shared her personal story of being diagnosed and living with Retinitis Pigmentosa.

“It was nice to share my story of living with RP and how the use of my white cane liberated me. After I was able to combat and deal with my fears of being judged or talked about within my community, I was then able to slowly feel confident and accept what I was dealing with and still am” shared Bhavini.

Subash said “A very powerful, yet emotive Bhavini addressed the need for empathy and cultural sensitivity. The Presence of Colin, Bhavini’s Guide Dog, was a very strong example of her independence which portrayed possibilities and an open mind”.

Some group members could relate to the emotional impact of sight loss and low vision that was having on them when completing day to day tasks, and others were simply unaware of rehabilitation support, or any local resources that are available. We thank Ushaben for inviting us to speak to the EKTA in the Harrow group which enabled us to educate, raise awareness and support the members with their concerns. We look forward to going back later in the year.

The EKTA Harrow group meets monthly and is open to anyone living in Harrow from a South Asian background, over the age of 18 and identifies with having a mental health condition.

The group provides informative speakers, socialising, fun and games and more, with a full Indian lunch provided. To find out more, please do contact hansrajsh@gmail.com

Every member thanked us for our time and passion in educating them and joining their group for the morning. BAME Vision is here to support ethnically diverse communities with their eye health and sight loss. If you have a community group that you would like us to attend, please do email info@bamevision.org

To find out more about BAME Vision, please visit our website www.bamevision.org

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. We have a range of videos on our YouTube channel – BAME Vision, which showcases various eye health information, tips, advice, and personal stories.

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