Fife man urges people to make use of vital eye care service
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Mateusz Watorowski, 32, from Kirkcaldy has experienced diabetes related sight deterioration since the age of 12. But a stroke and heart failure after moving to Scotland in January 2021 saw his vision reduced further.
Mateusz explained: “I was in a coma for five or six weeks. When I came out of the coma, I started rehabilitation. I was informed that I had had a stroke and heart failure which affected the left side of my body.
“I also noticed that my vision had changed and told the medical staff about it. I had an eye examination in hospital and was informed that my field of vision was affected after the stroke, which is why my sight had drastically deteriorated.”
Mateusz said that the further deterioration made it difficult to live independently but said he “didn’t have time to break down”. With his brother's help he got in touch with the Eye Care Liaison Officers (ECLOs) at the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland to discuss his needs.
Mateusz said: “He explained my current situation and raised the worries I had with most daily living skills: cooking, cleaning, and mobility. My brother was informed that an ECLO would be in touch with me to discuss my needs in the Polish language.”
Mateusz was put in touch with Aleksandra Grzywacz-Kalaska, an ECLO who speaks Polish. He said: “When Alex called me, I was grateful to have the option to speak in my own language. I felt more comfortable. I could express myself easily, be more open and better understood. I didn’t have to use an interpreter or my brother to discuss my current situation”.
Now Mateusz is getting back on his feet and reaping the benefits of the service.
He explained: “I’ve started meeting people from a local Polish club. We play dominoes, go for walks, and visit different places. I've also started going to the gym once a week. I’m still learning how to manage my daily routine, but day by day it is getting better, and I know I can always contact my ECLO if I need support.”