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Patient story: Patient is hopeful research will improve her eyesight and help others

Patient story: Grace Pym

Grace Pym, from Cricklewood, London, is a regular visitor to the Macular Clinic at Central Middlesex Hospital.

Her visits became a part of her routine after being referred by her GP, who she was visiting as a diabetic patient.

“They told me my eyes were deteriorating”, Grace said. “But since I’ve been coming here, they’re getting a little bit better.”

The clinic - part of London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust - is research active. Patients attending appointments will often hear about opportunities to take part in studies, supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) North West London.

Grace was approached about signing up to a study she could take part in alongside her regular treatments. After hearing about the benefits of clinical research, to both herself and others, she quickly agreed to take part.

“I’m glad I’m here to take part in this research, knowing that it will help other people.”

Her visits to the clinic involve “all sorts of things”, Grace said. “Eye drops, blood pressure, injections in the side of my eye.” Attending for both research and regular treatments makes it simple for Grace. She takes most of the procedures in her stride. “The only thing I don’t like is the puff of air in the eye”, she said. A common complaint for most people visiting the opticians.

Grace’s trips to the clinic are made much easier by the kindness shown to her by staff. “They are so pleasant, each and every one”, she said. “Everybody puts you at ease.”

It was the friendly atmosphere that reassured Grace that she was in good hands and would be looked after during her treatments and the research process. It encouraged her to say ‘yes’ to taking part.

Grace is grateful for all the work staff are doing to help her. “I’m hoping my condition will improve through taking part in the research”, she said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to have glasses that I can wear every day. It’ll help me to see better and enjoy life.”

Grace’s experience has brought home to her the value of good vision and what it would mean to her if her condition improved. “I’ll be able to get on with my life”, she said.

But the benefits to herself are not the only reason she is getting involved. “Taking part in the research, which I’m very happy to do, will help other people in future”, Grace said. “I’m glad I’m here to take part in this research, knowing that it will help other people”.