In 2009 Imran Aktar suddenly lost his sight when his retina detached. His journey to regain his independence was tough, but he’s never looked back.
From going to the shops to taking the kids out, everything that I used to find easy became much more difficult.
Although I was having operation after operation, we didn’t know if my sight was going to come back. I had to give up my job at the post office, which was hard and all I did was lie on the couch or in bed. I felt really lost.
I can still remember being in the doctor’s chair after the second operation asking, ‘Right, when can I get back to driving? When can I get back to normal life?’ And the doctor just looked at me and said, ‘You won’t be able to drive anymore.’ That hit me like a tonne of bricks.
At the start it was difficult because I didn’t like asking for help. My ‘ground zero’ was when they told me there wouldn’t be any more operations, so the only way from there was going to be up.
It felt emasculating not being able to make money for the family. So a big thing for me was getting back into work. I went to see one organisation they told me, ‘You’ve got no skills, no prospects, and due to your sight loss, there are no jobs or very few that you will be able to do’. When I heard that, I was just in a daze.
Luckily I managed to pick myself up and went to RNIB. They explained how wrong those people were.
With their help I got my first job. Now I work on RNIB’s Online Today service. We use accessible technology to get people with sight get online. Six years ago I would have been attending the lessons I’m now teaching.
I feel like I have come full circle and into the bargain, I’m able to help other people with sight loss which is such a great feeling.