An OSWESTRY resident has shed light on her way of helping to deal with sight loss through the medium of art.

Marlene Jones was diagnosed with macular degeneration 14 years ago, meaning she has had to deal with more and more difficulty with her sight over the years.

The early stages of the condition meant Marlene started to lose vision in one eye, before she found she had the condition in both eyes.

She has since lost some central vision in both eyes and relies on her peripheral vision – however this has not stopped her from keeping up her passion for art.

Marlene still produces paintings, drawing and sketches despite being diagnosed with a seriously damaged retina in both eyes.

The 75-year-old believes keeping up her artwork has been an important factor in dealing with the condition.

She said: “Throughout the development of macular degeneration, I’ve been continuing to draw and paint. It’s mainly been my idea to carry on doing it all along because I enjoy it.

“I have my peripheral vision, so when I sit and paint or draw, I sit sideways on to the canvas and look peripherally at what I am doing. I do have a little bit of my central vision left, so I try my best to use that alongside my peripheral vision.

“It’s something I have always enjoyed doing. It just takes me a little longer than it used to to complete a piece of work. Where it might have taken me a month to complete a piece of work, it might take me six months now, to complete it to the standard that I like it to be.

“I like to encourage others with macular degeneration to not stop doing things they enjoy, whether that be an arts or crafts type of thing, or something else.

“It’s sometimes about finding new ways to do the things we enjoy – I have a very strong magnifying glass which helps me.

“It’s just about doing what you can to avoid stopping what you enjoy and saying, ‘I can’t do this’.”

Marlene wants to encourage people in similar situations to continue with their passions despite having the condition.

She believes it is important to have the support of people going through the same thing and said the support group which meets at Qube in Oswestry on the third Friday of each month between 2pm and 4pm, can make a huge difference.

“People who attend the group meetings know I’m there for them if they need me,” she added.

“I befriended a lady in Scotland through the Macular Society who only really sees shadows, so she’s pretty much blind. This is something which has only come on the past few years for her, so obviously she gets very distressed and shocked.

“To lose your sight completely or to the point at which you can only recognise shadows is terrible.

“I ring her once a fortnight and we chat about how we feel and if we have any worries and things like that. We offer advice to each other and look forward to talking to each other.

“If you can help someone else in a similar situation to yourself, it’s very helpful.”

Marlene encouraged anyone with the medical condition in or around Oswestry to go along to the monthly meetings in the town, and also highlighted the importance of eye testing.

She said: “People get together and regardless of how long they have had Macular degeneration; people discuss their problems and help one another out.

“We have people who have been recently diagnosed as well as people who have had it for longer.

“It helps people to deal with the shock and it encourages friendships and support.

“There are different causes and effects, so it allows people to find out more about what they are dealing with.

“It makes you realise how common it is and also brings attention to the need for people to get their eyes tested.

“Even if your eyesight is perfect, or you think it’s perfect, it’s always good to have it checked to see if you’re right.

“I had it in one eye first of all and learnt to use one eye by itself, but when it started to affect my other eye, that was a different story.”

To find out more about the Oswestry Macular Society call 0300 3030 111 or visit