Post date: 
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Photo of Imran

In December 2017, RNIB hosted the second Vision Pioneer Awards to celebrate the hard work and dedication of eye health and sight loss sector professionals like nurses, doctors and Eye Clinic Liason Officers (ECLOs). The awards recognise their tireless work to support blind and partially sighted people and their friends and family.

This year RNIB gave Connect community members the opportunity to nominate the professionals who have made a big impact on their life for the Voice of the Community award. Connect magazine spoke to Junior Doctor in Ophthalmology, Imran Haq, who won the award.
“I was really shocked when I was told I had been nominated for RNIB’s Voice of the Community award", Imran said.
“I had had a long day, operating on some difficult cases and I was fighting for the last loaf of bread in Tesco when I got a phone call. I was already close to tears, and when the lovely lady from RNIB rang and said I had been nominated, I think I shed a few.”
Imran won the Voice of the Community award because of his self-funded project to create eye health videos to help patients understand their conditions. 

On receiving the award, Imran explained: "I’m really just in complete shock. I’m really grateful. Being an ophthalmology doctor, you hear of the RNIB, it’s a massive organisation, and I never ever, thought I’d be here holding the award. I just thought it would be a nice day trip down to London, and I’d be back up in the evening."

Helping patients understaind their conditions

Imran first came up with the idea of making the films because he recognised there is a need for eye health videos that people can understand. He said: "Even doctors sometimes do not understand eye problems, especially the very abstract conditions.”
Imran was nominated by his patient, Nadine Almanasfi. In her nomination, Nadine explained that people who are given a diagnosis that changes their life can find it a frightening time, especially if they feel like they are kept in the dark about their condition. 
“I know my videos are only three minutes long, but each one takes a long time to produce," Imran explained. "I filmed them myself, and edited them down to the right length. Then I had to draw illustrations and animate each one, frame by frame. It took me about a year to make the five videos.”
Imran plans to have the videos translated into several different languages so they can be accessed widely by people around the world. 
“A lot of the sight-threatening conditions happen to populations who do not typically seek medical help. By the time they come in to be looked at by a doctor, their disease is quite advanced," Imran said. "One of the main issues for this is the language barrier, and as a result of difficulties communicating, they do not always understand what is going on. 
“A lot of the time, the doctor cannot speak to them directly, so go through translators or a family member who may not portray exactly what is happening accurately. So that is why I want to get them translated.” 

“At the moment, I give patients leaflets and think, ‘Here, read the leaflet, go home, and do what I tell you.’ But as a sector, doctors and other health care professionals need to put a bit more effort into it, explain to patients exactly what is going on, help them feel empowered, so they can help themselves. 

“I would like to say thank you to Nadine for nominating me. It is a real honour to be recognised for the work I do,” Imran said. 
RNIB’s Vision Pioneer Awards was held on 12 December at the Royal College of Nursing headquarters in London. The other award finalists were Audrey Gardiner, an inspiring Eye Clinic Liaison Officer in Lancashire and Paul Stark, a volunteer with Tandem Trekker – a tandem cycling club for people with visual impairments. 
Our special thanks goes to community members, Dianne Woodford, Will Williams and Angus Huntley for judging the Voice of the Community award.

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