Sight impaired teen has hidden talents

Vision West Notts College student, Declan Batten, who has impaired vision, but is an accomplished pianist, skilled artist and origami practitioner.
Vision West Notts College student, Declan Batten, who has impaired vision, but is an accomplished pianist, skilled artist and origami practitioner.
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Being a teenager is hard enough with pressures both inside and outside the classroom.

But brave Declan Batten has to take it all on while battling severe sight difficulties.

Despite suffering from a multitude of eyesight problems that have left him partially sighted, college student Declan is an accomplished pianist, artist and origami practitioner – hobbies that he has to do from memory.

The 18-year-old, of Swanwick, was first diagnosed with sight problems when he was just four years old.

“The main problem I have is uveitis, which is an inflammation of the eye,” he explained.

“I also have arthritis in my knees, that is connected to the problems in my eyes – it’s all to do with inflammation.”

Declan also has glaucoma and a calcium build up on his corneas, which until recently he used to have to get scraped off once a year at hospital, until a problem with the procedure left a scar on his eye and damaged his vision even more.

“There’s more risk than gain,” he said.

When his eye sight got worse at the age of 12, Declan took it in his stride.

“My mum was more upset than me, but I don’t like to think about stuff like that,

“I think it is best to just get on with it and make the best of what you have got.”

Now Declan can only see shadows in his left eye.

He can see his hand with his right eye if it is directly in front of his face, however the image is blurry and he cannot see distance.

Despite his disability, Declan is excelling at college and has recently been honoured at the 25th Courage Awards held by Mansfield Rotary Club after being nominated by his achievement coach Gemma Lane.

Declan was surprised to receive the award.

“I was proud to receive it. It was great,” he said.

Stuart Booker, curriculum manager for academic studies at West Nottinghamshire College, praised the teen, describing him ‘inspirational’.

He said: “It’s just wonderful to see everything he’s achieved and obstacles he’s overcome. Things we take for granted are a challenge for Declan but he never complains and he always meets the challenge every time.”

Declan hopes to go on to study maths at the University of Nottingham.