Pensioner needs $6k in two weeks or he may go blind
IT MAY be a little early, but Charles "Joe" Pocock and wife Kathleen are hoping for a Christmas miracle.
The pensioners need to find $6000 in the next week and a half to pay for surgery that will potentially save Joe's sight in his left eye.
Specialists have told Joe he will be completely blind in 12 months if he does not have the operation.
Diagnosed with glaucoma after having trouble reading, Joe has been taking drops prescribed by his doctor to slow the decline but has now almost lost complete vision in his right eye.
His specialist is concerned at the rapid deterioration of his condition in the past six months and has urged the family to set up a GoFundMe page to try to come up with the money.
He has been told no doctors will bulk-bill the surgery and waiting to be seen in the public hospital system is now not an option.
"It's hard. I go outside and come in and it's black," he said.
"We haven't got any money. Even a normal person who is working, you can't save $6000 in two weeks.
"It's very frustrating."
The condition has also left the avid stamp collector facing the possibility of giving up one of his favourite pastimes.
"I could still do it, but for what? I can't even see it," he said.
"The specialist said before you could read and now you can't even see the board.
"Once you lose your sight you can't get it back."
Kathleen has also been diagnosed with glaucoma, a condition which affects the optic nerve after a build-up of fluid, but it's so far manageable with drops.
"The two of us will be the blind leading the blind," she said.
The couple had been travelling to Brisbane once every three months for check-ups but found a specialist closer to home a couple of months ago.
Daughter Melinda Whiting is worried about what may happen if her dad loses his sight completely.
"He has fallen over and smashed his kneecap and smashed his phone. He can't go walking by himself for too long anymore," she said.
The couple contacted an eye specialist in Sydney, where they lived before moving to Queensland, but were told it would be an 18-month wait.
"It will be too late," he said.
Despite his prognosis, Joe remains upbeat.
"I told the people at the stamp day [about his diagnosis] and they said 'they're ripping you off blind'," he joked.
To help Joe, visit the GoFundMe page Charles (AKA Joe) Eye Operation.