libby clegg

The sad story behind Libby Clegg's deteriorating eye condition

The Dancing on Ice star often discusses her condition frankly

Aisha Nozari

Dancing on Ice star Libby Clegg will spend the next few weeks strutting her stuff on the ice, and the Paralympian certainly won’t be letting her deteriorating eyesight stop her. The 29-year-old, who is registered blind, has Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease, a deteriorating eye condition that has left the athlete with only slight peripheral vision in her left eye.

Libby, who won silver at the 2008 Summer Paralympics and gold in Rio at the 2016 Paralympic Games, described her eyesight as being "like looking at a pixelated computer screen or a scrunched-up firework" when speaking to The Daily Mail. She added: "I have some peripheral sight – barely any – and with what little sight I do have I was able to use to follow the lines on the track."

libby clegg running

Libby competing 

The star athlete wasn't born blind, however, started to lose her eyesight at the age of nine. There is no treatment for Stargardt, and eventually, the mother-of-one will lose her sight completely. Libby admitted that her future is full of uncertainties, saying: "I’m at the age where my sight should be stabilising but it’s still deteriorating. Things will never go black, but I don’t know yet exactly what I will be able to see."

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liibby clegg winning gold

Libby winning gold 

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But that's certainly not stopping Libby from giving it her all on the rink. Speaking to The Radio Times, Libby explained her learning process, and added that she's relying on touch and verbal communication. The sports star said: "It’s been a learning process. On the track I run with a guide runner and we’re attached all the time, but basically it’s like learning a different vocabulary to communicate."

She continued: "Myself and my partner Mark Hanretty use touch and verbal communication. I’m not as bad as I thought I was going to be, but it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s a lot harder than I thought it’d be, it’s very technical."