John’s story: ‘See All Evil’ comes good for Moorfields
7 January 2020
Author John Raynor was treated at Moorfields in the 1970s. He wrote a novel called ‘See All Evil’ to explore the emotional journey of losing your sight, and donated the proceeds to Moorfields.
As a child, John was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). He was always confused about what was happening to him, until 30 years later when he came to Moorfields.
There, he met doctors who helped him to finally understand more about his condition.
What is retinitis pigmentosa (RP)?
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name for a group of conditions called ‘retinal dystrophies’ which affect the area at the back of your eye (the retina), causing the tissue to waste away.
Eventually, these conditions can stop the retina from working completely, causing permanent changes to your eye that reduce vision. The speed, severity and age of onset of vision loss all depend on the type of RP that you have, but early signs usually appear in childhood.
Symptoms may include:
- poor ability to see in dim light, often called ‘night blindness’;
- problems seeing things in your peripheral vision (the outer limits of your vision);
- difficulty adjusting to different light conditions, for example moving between a light and a dark room.
RP is a hereditary condition, which means you inherit it from a family member. Genetic testing can be carried out to see if you have a faulty gene that causes RP.
There is currently no cure for RP and no treatment that can stop the condition from getting worse. Researchers are looking into a number of potential treatment areas, such as gene therapy, stem cell therapy and nutritional therapy.
Currently there is no cure for RP, and John eventually lost his vision at the age of 35. But it didn’t stop him.
Now in his seventies, John continues to work as a computer software consultant, as well as writing books for both adults and children.
Writing ‘See All Evil’
‘See All Evil’ is John’s latest novel - and his longest one so far. It follows the story of British soldier Captain Alex McCloud, who is injured and blinded in Afghanistan in 2011.
McCloud comes back to the UK for treatment, where he is helped by a doctor from Moorfields Eye Hospital. He receives bionic implants that not only provide him with sight, but also with unique and powerful abilities that attract the attention of the British Ministry of Defence and the CIA in America.
Ultimately, though, ‘See All Evil’ is John’s way of sharing the emotional difficulties someone goes through when losing their sight.
I wrote ‘See All Evil’ to share the emotions that come attached to eye conditions and how it can affect someone physically and emotionally - especially with the people that are closest to them.
Supporting research at Moorfields
The research of Moorfields Eye Hospital plays an important role in the story, and John wanted to support that research in the real world.
He kindly decided to donate the royalties from his book to Moorfields Eye Charity, allowing us to invest in more world-leading research into eye conditions like RP and create a better future for people with sight loss.