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Dee Makar, 50

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

IG: dee_makar

Dee as a baby. Dee's visual impairment journey, vision loss, prosthetic eye, eye removal
Dee as a baby

Where are you from? London, UK

Where do you live now? Derbyshire, UK

Tell us a little about yourself:

I was born in London, UK. I also briefly lived in Australia and moved back to the UK, Nottingham, at age 6. I currently live in Derbyshire, UK. I’m married, have a daughter, Ocean, and two stepsons, Micky and Oli. We have a two-year-old Boxer dog named Vinnie.

What’s your eye story?

I was born with an eye that had not developed properly. The doctors were unsure if there was a normal eye sitting behind that hadn’t formed - but there wasn’t. Therefore, the plan was to have an operation to remove the eye at 3 months old. Unfortunately at six weeks old, it had become wedged out of the socket. I had an operation to remove it. A supportive structure had to be put in place, otherwise, my face would have drooped on that side. There was a chance that my body would reject the structure. Luckily it didn’t, and I went on to have my first prosthetic eye at 3 months old.

What has been the hardest thing mentally?

I think my parents probably suffered the most, psychologically and emotionally, from being told at my birth that there was a problem with my eye. My parents not only had to quickly come to terms with me having to wear a prosthetic, but they also had to cope with outside judgment. My parents would often have to help me get my prosthesis back in when I would take it out in public and play with it like a toy or offer it to random strangers I passed by in the supermarket. I can only imagine the questions and looks that followed.

I know they often worried about how having monocular vision impairment would affect me while growing up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much support for them in those days.

I was always conscious of the fact I looked different from my mates, especially through my school years. Those years were the worst, I suppose, due to the name-calling. I used to steer clear of certain people as they would pass me in the school corridors and call me names for the fun of it. To this day I still don’t fully understand why some adults find it acceptable to laugh and make fun of me because I look different. Sadly it does still happen on occasion. I am who I am, and I wouldn’t change it!! I don’t know if it’s just luck, family, or friends, but I’ve never let the confidence I have in myself be affected. I attribute this to my upbringing and how well my parents raised me. My parents instilled in me that I was capable of anything, and not to let other people or situations bring me down. When you fall down, you get back up!

What has been the hardest thing physically?

Nothing to do with me physically has ever stopped me from pursuing what I have wanted to do. There might have been a few broken bones or chipped teeth along the way, but those were my own doing. These incidents always included a faint voice in the distance shouting ‘watch your eye!’. That was always my mum's favorite saying.

In a way, I feel I have had it easy, having never known life any different. Although apparently, I wasn’t too good at hide & seek because I would leave my blind side sticking out, those are the kind of life lessons that help you to learn and adapt.

When I read other people’s stories and journeys, specifically here, I am amazed at how each and every one of us is such a warrior! I would have LOVED to be in a community like this growing up. I would have benefited so much from talking to and getting advice from people with similar experiences. I went from thinking that there was no one like me around to realizing there are actually so many of us!

What piece of advice would you give to someone going through their eye impairment journey?

Don’t fear being different, or shy away from life because of what people may think or say. Take time to adjust and things will fall into place. Do what feels right for you at your own pace. Talk about anything that worries you and ask questions – we are always here! YOU’VE GOT THIS x

Dee's and her dog. Dee's visual impairment journey, prothetic eye, eye removal, vision loss
Dee and her dog

[Edited for clarity by @kfitz89]

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