Luigi Martino was born with Ectrodactyly–ectodermal dysplasia–cleft syndrome, which is also referred to as EEC. It is a rare genetic disorder that affects the hair, teeth, nails, skin and sweat glands. Additional symptoms include abnormalities of the genitourinary system and the eyes.
When Luigi turned 40 years old his eye sight started to deteriorate rapidly and he became registered at Vista as partially blind.
Luigi worked as a Postman for 26 years and loved his job. When his eye sight started to worsen he was put in touch with Vista’s services. In 2004 Luigi was transferred to Leicester Royal Infirmary and visited our Eye Clinic Office, where he spoke to Naomi, one of Vista’s highly qualified Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLO);
‘Having Naomi reassured me that not all hope was lost – it’s not the end of the world.’
Luigi describes the Eye Clinic Liaison service as an invaluable experience which offers fantastic, easy access to a whole range of useful information. The service has helped Luigi in many aspects of life.
Luigi goes on to say ‘Vista provides great local knowledge, I know that I can call Naomi and she’d be able to point me in the right direction’.
The ECLO Team have helped Luigi to liaise with consultants, provide advice and support on what’s available. All of our Eye Clinic Liaison Officers provide emotional support to people diagnosed with sight loss. This one-to-one support has made a huge impact on Luigi’s confidence, whereby he feels he can be more independent throughout day-to-day life.
Luigi added; ‘The project has helped in all aspects of my life – the reassurance that you’re not on your own and that there’s somebody there to turn to fills me with hope.'
Early last year Luigi went through, as he describes as a rough patch when he had to have his right eye removed and a week later had to have a graft removed in his left eye. This left Luigi completely blind for 8 -10 weeks whilst he recovered.
‘If this service wasn’t available I don’t know what I would have done – I’d be lost without the ECLO team at the Eye Clinic – they are highly pro-active and their patience is incredible’. ‘As I started to recover, the team then referred me to Vista’s rehabilitation service where I met Fiona, who is currently teaching me how to move forward as my sight continues to deteriorate’.