Two years ago, retired art teacher Moyra Manifold went to get her eyes tested with nothing more pressing than the belief she needed stronger reading glasses – only it turned out to be a little bit more than that.
The Galway antique shop owner was diagnosed with Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the number one cause of sight loss in Ireland for those aged over 50, with more than 7,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
She knew all about the condition, because her brother was diagnosed with the same thing around ten years previously. He had described it as ‘like a cloud in front of your eyes that gets denser’.
Moyra also found she struggled to see straight ahead and noticed she was reading the Sunday newspaper sideways in order to be able to see the small print.
Yet, even though Moyra was experiencing these symptoms, she said there was ‘no big change’ in her eyesight and described it as quite a gradual deterioration.
Soon after her diagnosis, Moyra had a cataract operation which she described as a ‘quick and short treatment’.
Moyra classes herself as very lucky. “If you don’t have it treated you could go blind,” she said and since she has retired, she has owned an antique shop in Galway called An Gailearaí Beag and is an avid painter so having good eye sight is vital for her.
AMD is hereditary, and Moyra believes her mother also had the condition, but people weren’t aware of it at the time.
Moyra said she remembers her mother wearing strong glasses and getting books with large print from the library for her but was able to tell that she still couldn’t see properly.
This week marked the eleventh annual AMD Awareness Week and the theme for this year is ‘Sightsee with Me.”
Sightseeing and travelling with family is enjoyed by many people and the campaign aims to highlight the importance of managing eye health to continue to see impressive sights with loved ones.
Although Moyra likes travelling, she has nothing planned at the moment but recently went on a trip to Transylvania with her friend from Art College which she described as ‘great fun’.
She went on her first guided tour and ‘absolutely loved it’ and said there was a mix of all different ages there.
“They could all see where they were going and so could I,” she said.
As part of the awareness week, Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical company, offered free AMD eye testing on an open top bus travelling the country and also provided information on the condition.
And, with the help of the Association of Optometrists Ireland, Fighting Blindness, the Irish College of Ophthalmologists and the National Council for the Blind they provided a range of other targeted initiatives that encouraged people over 50 to get an AMD eye test to ensure they continued to see the things they love.
The National Council for the Blind of Ireland also hosted coffee mornings during the week to raise public awareness and to encourage discussion about the condition.
Lynda McGivney-Nolan, Optometric Advisor to Association of Optometrists said that optometrists are trained to identify the early changes at the macula which can appear before your eye sight is affected and they are also trained to give you the best advice on how to reduce and manage your risk of developing AMD.
“If you have any concerns about your vision, you should always talk to your optometrist,” she said.
Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.
Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.
While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.
“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.
“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”
Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!
Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.
But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.
The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.
She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.
The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.
“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.
“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”
Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery
Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.
But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.
The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.
To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.
But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.
Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie