Dot's AMD story on EastEnders

Eastenders Dot in her car RNIB driving informationFor the last few months, viewers have seen one of EastEnders' most beloved characters, Dot Branning, come to terms with her sight loss diagnosis and the impact it's had on her life.

 
Dot began having problems with her vision and found it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. She tried to carry on as normal and refused to seek medical help, which led her to become increasingly isolated and depressed, until her kind friend Patrick convinced her to attend an appointment with her GP.
 
In the episode of EastEnders which aired on Friday 9 December 2016, Dot was diagnosed with wet AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and told that a series of injections to her eye could treat her condition and help save her sight.
 
Since then, Dot has been receiving support from friends and family and undergoing treatment. However, in the episodes which aired on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 February 2017, we saw her end up on the wrong side of the road on her way back from the garden centre. It was a near miss, but Dot realised that she might not be safe to drive anymore.
 
Dot was initially in denial about the effects of her wet AMD but this incident makes her accept that she needs to make some changes to her lifestyle in order to manage her condition.
 
If, like Dot, you have recently been diagnosed an eye condition, and have had problems driving; we have put together some information to help you better understand your condition. Find out more about your rights and how to get the support you need to continue living independently and enjoy your favourite activities.

We're here to help

Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.

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Understanding AMD

AMD causes changes to the macula, which leads to problems with your central vision, it doesn’t cause pain, and doesn’t lead to a total loss of sight.

AMD affects the vision you use when you’re looking directly at something, for example when you’re reading, looking at photos or watching television. 

Find out more information about AMD in our comprehensive guide

Download our 'Understanding AMD' guide

Our Understanding AMD guide is accredited by the the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

It's designed to give you a detailed understanding of your eye condition and helpful advice on next steps.

 

Driving and sight loss

If you’ve experienced changes in your sight or have been diagnosed with an eye condition, and you’re concerned about driving, we have all the information about what you need to do and what your options are, as well as tips on using public transport and staying independent.

Visit our driving information page

Man driving a blue car

 

 

Andrew Keir, aged 35, lives in Nottingham and was diagnosed with Stargardt disease when he was 17 years old. Following a hospital appointment in 2000, Andrew was told he should no longer drive with immediate effect.

"I passed my driving test when I was 17 years old and began an Environmental Geology course at Cardiff University in 1999. I struggled a little when I had to read a number plate during my driving test but I still felt very safe driving, and didn’t consider myself a threat to other road users. Over the next couple of years I was beginning to find reading road signs a little more challenging. In 2000, when I was 19 years old, I attended a series of hospital appointments because my sight had begun to deteriorate. Luckily my mum had driven me there because during the appointment I was told by the consultant that I should no longer drive. I told the DVLA about my situation, I was allowed to keep the photo-card part of the license as a form of id, but not allowed to drive. At the back of my mind I knew this was going to happen one day. It came as more of a shock to my parents, for them it was completely out of the blue. They were worried about me and how it would impact my life. I do miss the convenience of having a car and sometimes catch myself thinking that journeys would be simpler if I could drive but nowadays I’m confident in getting around on my own. I use a bus hailer to flag down the correct bus. This is a ring binder with four numbers, I hold up the number of the bus I wish to get on and the driver will stop. I also use binoculars to read departure boards at stations and use the magnifier and other apps on my iPhone. These simple things really are such a huge help."

 

 

All too often, people experiencing sight problems who lose their driving licence are left feeling isolated and depressed, not knowing where to turn for help. RNIB is here for everyone affected by sight loss, to give emotional and practical support and make sure losing your driving licence doesn’t mean losing your independence.

Sally Harvey, Interim RNIB CEO

 

 

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If you've got any questions speak to us by emailing the eye health team or calling 0303 123 9999