Eye loss, adapting and adjusting.

I had the great pleasure of enjoying a breakfast with a wonderful group of people last Sunday. We came together to put together the foundations for a mind map to illustrate the journey people may go through when they are faced with losing an eye.

A mind map is a picture that starts with a central theme or idea. In our case it is about eye loss. The map expands out to illustrate different aspects of the theme.

On one branch we will be looking at the physical aspects of eye loss. This includes the operation, making the eye prosthesis and maintenance of the eye prosthesis. On another branch we will look at support mechanisms such as peer support groups, friends and family, and professional counselling if required.

We will also be addressing the big questions; will I be able to drive? How will this affect my employment opportunities and will I ever get married?

Jane Genovese is doing the research and putting the mind map together. Jane is currently studying her sixth year in a double degree in Psychology and Law at University. She is also the owner, coordinator and presenter of Learning Fundamentals that gives students the edge over their studies.

Jane’s mother Sharon will do the artwork and the illustration. Sharon is a graphic artist with an education background. They are interested in simplifying a complicated idea and representing it visually using colour and design. They have done several mind maps which are receiving international interest. To see examples of their mind maps see Combating Global Warming.

When people visit us for the first time I spend a good part of the visit explaining what is going on. I explain the operation they have had, the process we use to make up the prosthesis, maintenance of the eye prosthesis, support groups, the stories of eye loss and numerous other things.

There is a lot of information shared in a short time and I have noticed that some people are a bit overwhelmed by it all. I hope the mind map will work as a tool to help put it all into perspective.

Michael Tunnecliffe is a clinical psychologist who specialises in trauma recovery. He has a particular interest in peer support and works with the peer support group “Amputees in action”.

Michael will be facilitating the Arteyes Peer Support training Day in October. Michael’s contribution to the mind map is significant and most welcome. Michael is the Author of “A life in Crisis”, 27 Lessons from Acute Trauma Counselling Work. You can see the book and others written by Michael here.

The rest of our small breakfast group were Julia, Jenny and myself. Julia is the driving force behind this project as she is with most of the projects we undertake. Apart from organising the breakfast she also took on the role of facilitator. It was agreed by all that she has quite a talent for the position. Julia and her husband Glenn set up and manage our web site. This is their OM4 website.

Jenny is a well grounded person and approached the group with good practical ideas. At work Jenny will get the work done and will keep her mind on the job. I on the other hand will allow my mind to wonder from time to time. Jenny kindly tells people that I am the ideas man in the office.

When we have something to go ahead with we want to organize another breakfast for a sample group. We are looking for someone who has lost an eye through disease, someone who lost an eye through an accident, a parent with a child who has lost an eye and someone who has lost an eye as a result of an assault.

If you feel you have something you would like to contribute and you would like to be part of the next breakfast please let us know.

More information on Emotional Response To Eye Loss.

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