1. ITV Report

Schoolboy's campaign to raise awareness of eye condition

Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer.

An eleven year old boy from Essex is hoping to challenge people's assumptions about blindness.

Sam Baker suffers from a condition that has left him with no peripheral vision or "tunnel vision" and uses a cane to help him get around.

Sam now wants to raise awareness that the vast majority of cane users still have some vision.

Sam Baker Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Sometimes if I'm in shop and looking at a game I want, then people might be a bit confused because I'm looking around at different things and again it's like the cinema, how can you look at them if you're blind, I'm not blind."

– Sam Baker

According to the RNIB 93% of people registered blind or partially sighted can see something.

But people's perceptions when they see the cane are that they can't see anything.

  • RP is hereditary and causes gradual deterioration of peripheral vision
  • It can lead to total blindness
  • At the moment there is no cure

"A perfect example of this is when I went to the cinema, I used the cane to get up the steps and go to my seat, then I sat to watch the movie, I felt very awkward going into the cinema with my cane in case people thought I was a fake."

– Sam Baker
People in the UK have RP

Retinitis Pigmentosa is a hereditary condition and Sam's father and brother both have it

Sam with his older brother and father Credit: Family photo

"We were advised to start cane training just because of the nature of the disease, it's progressive, it's degenerative and we knew things would get worse, what we didn't know at the time was how quickly it was going to get worse for Sam, that's been quite hard for everybody to deal with because his visual field is very tight. There's been an awful lot to take on and learn but he's done it all amazingly."

– Karen Baker, Sam's mother

Tina Houlihan is the Chief Executive of RP Fighting Blindness. A condition which affects 1 in 4,000 people.

She spoke to ITV News Anglia's Jonathan Wills.