From left to right, Karen Wilson, Sara McCracken and Paul Palmer
Visit to Angel Eyes
On 6th August 2019, Paul Palmer and I visited Angel Eyes NI, to present a cheque for £8,491.22. This sum will go towards funding their OHANA (Overcome Hurdles and Never be Afraid) project for partially sighted and blind children and their parents. While there, we met several members of Angel Eyes staff including Karen Wilson, Education Advocate and Sara McCracken, Chief Executive (Both pictured).
About Angel Eyes charity
The charity was founded in 2008 by two parents who wanted contact with other parents facing the same challenges in bringing up a child with a visual impairment. It is run by a committee made up of passionate and dedicated parents who want to support others and ensure all parents receive the information they need from diagnosis of their child’s eye condition.
Angel Eyes has expanded so quickly that it is now assisting 500 families with a particular focus on families with children from birth to four years old. The charity has started to support Children in Southern Ireland and is also working with similar charities across Ireland.
Range of services
Angel Eyes delivers a range of services: providing emotional support, timely information, practical help, advocacy and lobbying to ensure parents are supported through every step of their child's life.
These services include:-
Four Educational days for parents per year.
Emotional support for parents though a network of parents throughout Northern Ireland.
Referral to other appropriate services and agencies.
Information for parents on the types of services available to them.
General day to day advice, help and support.
Development of Virtual Reality equipment
The Chief Executive of Angel Eyes, Sara McCracken showed us a prototype of specialised virtual reality equipment. These VR googles enable her to demonstrate to parents, carers and teachers the specific sight limitations of the child in their care.
Sara persuaded Ulster University to develop the equipment with Jonathan Jackson, Head of Optometry at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Paul tried the goggles which gave him a real sense of how difficult life is for some visually impaired children. We learned that some children only see in 2D which makes things like steps and stairs incredibly dangerous. Sara hopes that production of the equipment will become commercially viable.
It’s always good to support organisations who, in turn, are helping support others. To find out more about Angel Eyes, please visit their website: