Meet our Chair!

Here to help

Welcome to the Sight Life website. We’re here to support people who don’t see very well across South Wales. My name is John Sanders, and I have the honour of being Chair of Sight Life’s Board of Trustees. It doesn’t matter if, like me, you’ve had poor vision all your life, you’ve been diagnosed with sight loss in adulthood or you’re experiencing temporary difficulty with your eyes. If sight is the problem, we’re here to help.

My first encounter with Sight Life was in 1998 weeks after returning to Wales after more than 20 years away. I went to an event in the Bouchier Hall (behind the old Shand House centre on Newport Road). Within two years I was a trustee and a regular visitor. But a lot had happened before I got here.

Our charity has been around since the 1860s, and in the last 150 years we’ve learnt that it’s often the little things we do that make the most difference. So, we start by listening to you. Sometimes that’s all you need – someone who listens and understands what you’re going through. That’s fine with us.

Mostly, though, we can at the very least help in practical ways too. That may be with gadgets like magnifiers and liquid level indicators. It may be advice about benefits and financial issues. Or it may be getting information in large print or other accessible formats or help with using your phone, tablet or laptop.

Man steering a narrow boat
John keeping things going in the right direction!

However, while practical issues are important, other challenges that accompany sight loss often cause the greatest anxiety. For instance, feeling alone, isolated or at a loss about how to do things others take for granted. We can help here too with our activities, clubs or simply enabling you to meet others in the same situation.

I didn’t knowingly meet anyone else with my eye condition (nystagmus) until I was in my mid 20s. That was a turning point in my life. I‘ve learnt more about how to live with nystagmus from others with the condition than I’ve learnt from any doctor. And the challenges aren’t over for me yet. My optometrist tells me I now have cataracts to look forward to, so it looks like I need Sight Life more than ever.

John Sanders
Chairman, Sight Life

August 2020