Jacintha Larkin is a remarkable woman who has overcome many obstacles in her life. One incident best highlights the difficulties she had to face throughout her life and through it all, the amazing strength she had to endure it. Jacintha was born with chicken pox, a disease that ravaged her tiny body and caused her to go blind by the time she was 15.
Thus began Jacintha’s long-standing relationship with the medical world for the next 30 years whom were fascinated by her unique case. Firstly, she had an implant inserted into her left eye. Her vision wasn’t perfect, but it allowed her to see things close up. Unfortunately the retina in Jacintha’s right eye had detached and needed to have a buckle fastened, meaning she could not have an implant in her right eye.
Still effectively blind in the right eye, the only thing that could help with her vision was to have a contact fitted. This allowed for her to see things in the distance, but not close up. However, this was not the end of her troubles.
“30 years of wearing a contact lens took its toll on the eye. Without the contact lens, I had no vision. When you got up in the middle of the night you were more likely to fall over something. I would have travelled around the house by memory. Now I can open my eyes and see for the first time ever. That’s big.”
Wearing a contact lens began to cause repeated, painful infections in Jacintha’s right eye. The routine nature of the infections meant she needed to use a variety of drops to help keep it under control. However over time Jacintha slowly began to take allergic reactions to the drops, leaving the right side of her face swollen, tender and black from bruising.
“I would say to people, ‘I’ve never drank in my life and I still can’t go through the door!’ My depth perception was so bad I couldn’t pour things into cups or bottles. I would just miss.”
She would visit clinic after clinic looking for an answer and was being told a multitude of different things that could be wrong. She needed help and not just for herself, but also for her daughter whom suffers from a debilitating illness and relies on Jacintha to take care of her. Her daughter is unable to speak and so all communication is done visually, making Jacintha’s vision that bit more vital.
“She can tell me everything that’s wrong just with eye contact. She does have a speech box, but it’s more portable than usable at night time. “
Jacintha began to lose hope that she would ever find a solution to her problem until she met Professor Moore.
“We came here and everything was done and dusted really quickly. From my suitability to booking my surgery, it took only a few hours. The team are lovely and chilled. At the end of the day you come here, you get your scans done and you know you can get your surgery done here. You get the feeling of something definite happening.”
Miraculously, Jacintha is now able to see and her world has completely changed. Colours to her are brighter. People are no longer under a smokey blur. Things are now more realistic to her and in the right proportions.
“I couldn’t depend on my vision to do most things on my own like drive, or take the child out. I now have reclaimed my independence.”