Judith and Brian
Judith and Brian Gilpin regularly travel into Melbourne’s CBD from their outer eastern home to hear about CERA’s latest breakthroughs and developments in eye health research.
For Judith, a former kindergarten teacher, and Brian, a retired engineer, now great-grandparents 14 times over, the community information forums are deeply personal.
Six years ago, Judith was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Now 86, Judith no longer drives, as distance is hard to gauge, and she has had to give up a beloved, but visually demanding, hobby of single-thread needlework. But she is otherwise well and able to read, “with a good light”. Standard AMD treatment is keeping the disease at bay.
“I’ve been having injections. Just the left eye to begin with, and both eyes now for a couple of years,” she says.
Brian, aged 93, was diagnosed with glaucoma some years ago but still enjoys good eyesight and is able to drive.
For the Gilpins the future is on their mind.
“Both AMD and glaucoma are hereditary,” says Judith. “We’re really interested in what’s going to happen to our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren,” she says. “Are they going to inherit our eye disease?”
They both value that CERA is at the frontier of eye disease research and is recognised as one of the top four research centres in the world. “This is an incredible achievement,” says Brian. “We are just so fortunate.”
The Gilpins have donated to CERA since 2003 and urge others to do the same, no matter the amount.
“We’re quite fascinated by the work they’re doing,” says Brian. “We have in mind the future. Hopefully, lots of things will be preventable by then.”
And back home, the Gilpins encourage the family to test their eyesight regularly using a simple Amsler grid that hangs on a door.
“This little grid gives you warning if there’s a problem,” says Brian. “It’s important.”