“Research is the only way to fight the disease, which is progressing at a steady pace”
Helena Vidal is 25 and is a participant in the pioneering trial that the Institut de la Màcula, in close collaboration with the Barcelona Macula Foundation, is conducting to discover a treatment that slows the progression of Stargardt’s disease. She was found to have the disease about two years ago at a routine medical. “I was shocked”, she says. An optimistic woman with a fighting spirit, she decided to take part in the trial “because it was my only chance to fight the disease, which was progressing at an unstoppable pace. It’s good for me, but for others too”.
Helena explains that she first thought “that it would take time to suffer the symptoms, that it wouldn’t affect me in the short term, but I gradually noticed considerable vision loss and reading was becoming a real challenge”. Faced with this situation, this student regards it as vital to adapt and seek solutions: “I try to recognise someone on the street through their body language and not through their face; I use my mobile to take photos of things I can’t read and I enlarge them or you end up making the letters larger in the computer or the phone”.
With regard to her personal environment, Helena highlights the importance of the family: “Patience and understanding are vital for us to feel that we are not a burden on anyone. I am grateful to my parents and my partner who are always there to help me when they see how hard it is for me to read film subtitles. And I mean really hard!”.