Chris Telesford: Defying limits
16 August 2023
Chris Telesford found himself in Moorfields’ care at just one-month-old. A complex diagnosis shaped his life experiences unexpectedly, presenting challenges he faced head-on, proving that determination can overcome barriers.
Navigating a complex diagnosis
Chris’ diagnosis revealed bilateral coloboma of the optic disc with nystagmus.
Tasks like reading small print or recognising distant faces posed difficulties, but he kept them from defining his aspirations.
He engaged in combat sports and was involved in acting, amongst many other impressive feats.
Though specific treatments for his condition were limited, Chris’ proactive spirit shone through.
He underwent swift laser surgery that lasted just five minutes to address a retinal tear present since birth.
Cataract treatments, a common aspect of his journey, brought significant improvement. They enhanced his vision, allowing him to see the world with newfound sharpness.
Moorfields was more than a medical facility; it became a supportive community. Minor hurdles occasionally emerged amid the triumphs, but the Moorfields team was always there to guide the way.
Reflecting on the past, guiding the future
Looking back at his initial days following the diagnosis, Chris would extend reassurance to his younger self—
Having a visual impairment in today’s world may prevent you from flying a plane (to an extent), but the technology exists that allows you to still achieve your desired dreams and goals.
Today, after treatments, Chris’ vision is remarkably better; he enjoys the brilliance of clear vision in both eyes.
The introduction of reading glasses has been a minor adjustment and a reminder of life’s natural changes that he welcomes with open arms.
For those navigating a similar path, Chris’ advice resonates—trust the Moorfields consultants. Their expertise and dedication make them reliable guides on this unique journey.
Embarking on a journey of empowerment, Chris has bridged the realms of sports, accessibility, and patient advocacy in a remarkable narrative of determination and positive influence.
Beyond Moorfields, Chris discovered his passion for Taekwondo. Starting at the tender age of three, he’s been practising for nearly four decades.
In 2018, whilst training with Aquila Taekwondo, he was invited to join the GB Para Poomsae Taekwondo squad as a registered blind athlete, excelling in the sport’s no-contact element.
His dedication to Taekwondo extends further than just personal accomplishments; he’s been pioneering ways to teach others with visual impairments, ensuring accessibility for all.
Taekwondo, for me is not just a martial art or a way of keeping fit and healthy but is a way of life teaching and instilling discipline, confidence, perseverance, integrity and building an indomitable spirit.
Chris’ impact reaches beyond sports: as a Patient Safety Partner at Moorfields, he’s a pillar of support for patients and staff. Collaborating with various organisations, he works toward creating inclusive environments.
Looking ahead, Chris’ role on the advisory board for Oriel—a new integrated centre for advancing eye health—allows him to contribute to patient safety and accessibility.