I’m Chris and welcome to the Blind Man with a Backpack.

I have always been short-sighted, getting my first pair of glasses at 18 months. At it’s best, my prescription was around -6 in my teens, by the time I reached my early thirties it had settled at around -11. I always wanted to have corrective surgery, but was told that due to the complexity of my vision LASIK was never an option so, when I discovered a procedure called Implanted Contact Lenses (ICL), I was intrigued and in the summer of 2015, had the surgery which would remove the need for me to ever wear glasses again.

All was going great until a routine check-up in February 2018 found that something wasn’t quite right. After further tests, including a very intense procedure called an Electroretinogram (ERG) – I think this exam is where Stanley Kubrick got the inspiration for the conversion therapy in A Clockwork Orange – I was informed that I had a macula condition called Cone Dystrophy and it was likely I would lose much of my central vision.

My initial thought was “how bad can it be?” after all, I had made it to nearly 40 with no issues so to lose my vision in another 40 years doesn’t sound like too much of a hardship. How wrong I was! Almost 3 years to the day of that diagnosis, I was registered as Sight Impaired, the first step towards blindness.

Although tough, I could still navigate the world with very little help and could still make out the faces of my family and friends. It was at this point I decided to embark on my biggest challenge ever, walking 100km from London to Henley to raise money for the Macular Society. As a way of raising as much awareness and money as possible, the Blind Man with a Backpack was born. I began posting photos of my walks on Instagram and writing about my experiences in a personal blog.

Things continued to degrade and in the run up to Christmas 2021, I revisited my consultant. After a failed attempt to read the letter chart, I was regrettably informed that I met the criteria of Severely Sight Impaired (or blind).

So, this brings us to today and this space. A place to share the highs and lows of sight loss and disability and I invite you to join me in this journey.

Take care


Get in touch

I’m always available to talk about walking, writing, sight loss or disability rights. You can ge tin touch by emailing me at chris@blindmanwithabackpack.uk or follow me on social media by following the links below