Preston mechanic turns his life around after "devastating" sudden sight loss

When mechanic Shaun Eccles lost his sight suddenly 10 years ago, his whole world was turned upside down.

By Catherine Musgrove
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 3:57 pm

The 54-year-old from Preston said it was the “worst day of his life" when he was forced to give up driving after his diagnosis of Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON).

>>>Click here to find out how you can help a telephone service for people with sight loss.

He sank into depression and lost enthusiasm for life, but after finding out about the Living Well With Sight Loss courses, he has now developed new interests such as wood carving, and is in the process of enrolling as a volunteer with the RNIB.

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Shaun Eccles who has sight loss

Shaun’s diagnosis

Shaun noticed a ‘fog’ in his vision while shaving one morning and made an appointment with his optician. They couldn’t tell what the problem was, so he sought at second opinion.

The second optician referred him to his GP and told him to stop driving immediately.

Shaun said: “It was the worst day of my life, I’ll be honest with you.

"I’ve loved cars, brought up with cars, I served my apprenticeship as a mechanic...I went home and cried because my whole life, dedication and ambition was all taken away from me.”He said it took a long time for the LHON diagnosis to sink in, but coming across courses run by sight loss charity RNIB changed his outlook.

The course

The Living Well with Sight Loss: Focus on Wellbeing course is delivered by phone and gives people from across the UK a chance to connect with others and share experiences.

RNIB research showed that the pandemic has increased feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and loss of freedom in blind and partially sighted people.

Shaun said: “If you start talking to new people you find about different interests and get different perspectives. It is easy to spend too much time in your own head. I don’t use any social media to say in touch, so for me talking to other people really helped.

He added: “To anyone who’s experiencing sight loss, it’s a difficult process, but I’d say speak to RNIB and keep talking to other people to see how you can get your life back on track.”

To learn more about the courses and how to sign up visit www.rnib.org.uk/LivingWellWithSightLoss or call 0303 123 9999.