“For me, summer season means music festivals,” says Kirsty James, who's 27. She's registered blind and is a eager festivalgoer, having attended Glastonbury, Boomtown, and Nozstock: The Hidden Valley.
Being in crowds and muddy fields when you may have sight loss isn't at all times straightforward, however James says the environment makes up for it. “The most effective factor for me is that everybody is so pleasant and glad that if I stumble upon somebody, they both don’t care or don’t discover and simply keep it up dancing.
“I often get round with the assistance of my information canine, Bass, however a music competition isn’t actually the place for him so as a substitute I depend on my pals and husband, Tom, to information me, significantly at evening or over uneven floor that every one seems to be flat to me.”
James has Stargardt’s illness and Charles Bonnet syndrome, which means she's completely blind in her central imaginative and prescient with some peripheral imaginative and prescient within the prime left of each eyes. She has no depth notion and can’t see faces or element.
Kirsty James and her husband Tom
However with the 2017 competition season underway, James doesn't really feel like she misses out. She will be able to't see the stage however will get somebody to explain what's taking place, and what the performer is carrying. “The crowds appear like blobs and I can’t distinguish whether or not they’re male or feminine. It doesn’t matter, although. I simply deal with the world I’m in and shut my eyes, really feel the music, and dance. It used to trouble me not with the ability to see the levels, however I’ve now realised I’m there for the music, not what’s taking place onstage.”
Nicki Kelly, 32, one other competition fan, misplaced her sight in 2007 and was identified with optic atrophy and extreme keratoconus. She’s been to a lot of festivals and gigs together with Fusion Competition, Get together within the Park, and Glastonbury, which she attended for the primary time this yr to characterize the Royal Nationwide Institute of Blind Folks (RNIB).
“More often than not my fellow festivalgoers would by no means know that I’ve sight loss,” Kelly tells BuzzFeed Information. “Navigating via the crowds is the place issues get difficult. I at all times go to festivals with a buddy to assist me get round, and as soon as folks see my cane they’re often useful and attempt to transfer out of the way in which. However surely, the worst factor at a competition is rain and unhealthy climate – my cane has bought caught within the mud earlier than.”
Nicki Kelly and Kirsty James
Bogs could be troublesome. “There are sometimes restricted accessible bathrooms and so typically it’s simpler to get to straightforward bathrooms,” she says. “The bathrooms had been fairly darkish so at Glastonbury it was important to at all times have a torch with me, or my cane to hit the place the pan is, so as to discover my method. Additionally, there have been steps as much as the usual bathrooms that had been troublesome as that they had gaps that my cane would get caught in.”
Kelly camps, and finds it troublesome to not journey over man ropes from different tents. “As soon as I discovered a path to our tent, different folks began to reach and put up their tents which might make my route void after which I wanted assist.”
The viewing platforms at this yr's Glastonbury, which let disabled folks keep away from the massive crowds, had been important. Her favorite second this yr was getting on to the
viewing platform on the West Holts stage to see Solange.
Regardless of constructive experiences, Kelly and James each suppose festivals and music venues might do extra to assist folks with sight loss. “At present it appears as if the main target is on making certain accessibility for wheelchair customers,” Kelly says, “however to be really accessible, festivals and music venues additionally want to think about the wants of individuals with sensory loss and different disabilities.”
“The important thing factor I’ve discovered is to ask for assist – sight loss at a competition could be costly should you don't,” James says. “Struggling to learn the menu at a meals stand, I as soon as paid a tenner for a wrap, however I don't even like wraps – I assumed it was a baguette.”
She'd like festivals to have programmes in accessible codecs, reminiscent of audio, giant print, and braille. “It looks as if a small factor, however an accessible programme would imply that I might see who's on and determine which bands to observe somewhat than counting on suggestions from others.”
Kelly additionally feels lighting in bathrooms and extra info on the place competition workers could be discovered are wanted.
For the primary time this yr, the RNIB teamed up with Glastonbury competition as its official well being charity accomplice. BuzzFeed Information has used picture filters created by the charity to point out what some typical competition scenes would appear like with totally different eye situations.
Matt Crossick/EMPICS Leisure/PA/RNIB
Glaucoma happens when your optic nerve is broken by the stress of the fluid inside your eye. It may be brought on by raised eye stress or a weak spot within the nerve. It may have an effect on folks of all ages, however it's most typical in adults. Most sorts of glaucoma don’t have any signs, so an eye fixed take a look at is the one approach to know you may have the situation.
Diabetic retinopathy is essentially the most critical sight situation associated to diabetes, the place tiny blood vessels behind your eye change into blocked and leak. Round 1,000,000 folks within the UK are in danger or affected by it. Folks with kind 1 diabetes are provided screening to choose up early signs.
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration, aka AMD, is, because the identify suggests, often present in older folks. It's an eye fixed situation that impacts the central a part of your retina, which is named the macula, and causes adjustments to your central imaginative and prescient.
Matt Cardy / Getty/RNIB
Cataracts are when the lens of your eye turns into cloudy, making your sight misty. They’re handled with surgical procedure to have a synthetic lens put in your eye. Although most of us appropriately affiliate cataracts with older folks, some infants are born with cataracts, and kids may also develop them. Folks of their forties and fifties can be identified.
Matt Cardy / Getty / RNIB
As cataracts worsen, there's a visual white, milky spot in your eye and extra superior imaginative and prescient loss.
Sally Harvey, RNIB chief govt, says folks ought to have their eyes examined no less than as soon as each two years.
“Eye exams aren’t nearly glasses or contact lenses – they’re additionally a test on the well being of your eyes,” she says. “Circumstances reminiscent of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts could be detected early by your optometrist, which means that remedy could be simpler and decreasing the chance of sight loss.
“Having your eyes examined is just the start, nonetheless. Life-style elements reminiscent of stopping smoking and consuming healthily are all too typically ignored, however could make an actual distinction to your eye well being. And should you’re going to a competition this summer season, be sure to put on sun shades with a CE or British Commonplace mark to guard your eyes.”
For info on how that can assist you take care of your eyes, go to the RNIB’s website. If you happen to’re blind or partially sighted, take a look at the charity's tips for going to a festival this summer.