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Daniel Clarke, 31

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Social media handles: danjamusic

Where are you from? Aylesbury, UK

Where do you live now? Exeter, Devon (South West England)

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am the proud father of two boys, Dion and Theo, as well as a musician and barber living in Exeter, Devon. I also take pride in my commitment to fitness, health, and exercise routine.

What’s your eye story?

At the age of 21, after an accident with a knife, I lost all vision in my left eye. The doctors at the Royal Devon and Cornwall hospital in Exeter tried for months to save it. However, due to how deep the knife cut through my eye, it became clear that my retina would not be reattaching. I was left blind and with a very big scar over my left eye. At the time, I didn’t realize the impact this accident would really have on me until I enrolled in university later that year and discovered my whole life direction starting to change. Six years later, it was recommended to me that my eye be removed. After a lot of thought, I made the decision to follow through with the procedure. I have since gone through the process of finding the “right” prosthetic eye, but I just couldn’t come to grips with wearing one. I felt like wearing one took the emotion away from me as a person, almost like being a doll. I believe we can tell a lot about someone’s emotions by looking into their eyes. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t recognize myself while wearing a fake eye. I actually felt more confident without one. Since then I have worn a clear conformer as my go-to, everyday look.

What has been the most challenging thing mentally?

It took a long time for me to get my head around the fact I would never be able to see out of my left eye again. Losing an eye comes with a lot of challenges. Having my eye removed was by far the biggest challenge mentally. I had to get used to people stopping and staring. To a certain extent, those of us who have lost one or both eyes, are considered disfigured. In my experience, I have found there to be little to no support for those of us who are dealing with the loss of our vision. I am blind in my left eye, but for some reason that I still don’t understand, I can’t even be registered as partially sighted. Being told I don’t qualify as having a disability has been very frustrating and confusing.

What has been the most challenging thing physically?

The hardest thing physically is the hindered depth perception and trouble with distances. Being told I wouldn’t be able to accomplish my dream of becoming a barber only made me push harder to succeed. I also had to prove myself when I started boxing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to compete professionally, but I’m grateful to be able to at least train with professionals. Everyone has to overcome obstacles, we just have to push harder to do so.

Where are you now in your recovery?

I still have days I feel very anxious and down, but I keep finding myself having more good days, with no issues at all than bad. It’s been a long road and after having many surgeries and several prosthetic eyes made, I know for me I feel most comfortable with my conformer ☺

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

I believe in “an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind”. Losing my sight, as well as the removal of my left eye, taught me to accept having a disability and that most people will naturally look and stare when something is different. I have felt it has been my duty to teach my two sons that it’s ok to be unique and that we all have scars-some more visible than others.

Who is your eye surgeon and ocularist?

Fiona Ervin’s west of England eye infirmary

How did you find EYEHESIVE?

Social media – Instagram

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