When Janet Gray was 14, she was told she could lose her eyesight, just like her brother and her father.
“Though it was genetic, it was triggered by something,” she says in a matter-of-fact way. “They controlled it until I was 21, and then I broke the orbital bone
around my eye and they had to operate and remove my eyes…”
Janet had lived a happy childhood in Belfast, in which she had always been sporty and outgoing. Now she was faced with a very different life. “I tried to believe
that once the surgery had settled down my eyesight would come back,” she says. “When I realised it wouldn’t, it was a massive kick in
the teeth. I was 21 years old and I went from being a confident person to being timorous and vulnerable. Even moving around my own
home I was tripping over things.”
From the stress, she dropped from 8 stone to 5 stone 10. But bit by bit she regained her confidence.
“You have to accept your illness first, before you can move on,” she says.