‘A VERY loving and thoughtful woman, putting other people before herself, without letting her disabilities get her down’ is how Rachel Bishop, 43, has been described after starting to lose her eyesight aged 29 due to complications from diabetes, resulting in diabetic retinopathy, rubeosis iridis, cataracts in both eyes, posterior capsule opacification, corneal ulcers and acute closed angle glaucoma.
She has since had the greatest number of eye operations in Southampton General Hospital, including Yag laser surgery to improve her eyesight after cataract surgery, photodiode laser treatment to reduce pressure in her eyes, trabeculectomy to lower the intraocular pressure inside her eye and a retinal peel in both eyes.
As a result of her sight loss, Ms Bishop suffers from PTSD and says it has been a slow and difficult process to enjoy life again.
‘Rachel has no peripheral vision in her left eye, leaving a small tunnel of sight, and is completely blind in her right eye,’ said her sister Kay Craven, who put her forward for the Close Finance-sponsored Overcoming Adversity Award.
‘Despite being registered blind Rachel is extremely enthusiastic about vinyl records and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music.
‘Rachel worked as a DJ, record producer and writer working with some big artists and has been credited alongside David Bowie, Jessie J, Sir George Martin, Michael Jackson and Steve Strange, until her eyesight deteriorated.
‘She has been playing guitar since she was eight years old and is an absolutely amazing guitarist and has played in many local bands.
‘She is now going to be studying for a degree through the Open University later on this year in music, and then psychology, using audio teaching equipment.’