Coronation Street star Lisa George reveals she could go blind from rare condition, and fears she could never act again

18 May 2024, 13:23 | Updated: 18 May 2024, 13:30

Lisa George has suffered a serious eye problem
Lisa George has suffered a serious eye problem. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Coronation Street star Lisa George has revealed that she could go blind because of a genetic eye condition.

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George, who has played Beth Sutherland on the soap opera for over a decade, said she had been diagnosed with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropath (NAION) - a condition that can cause sudden sight loss.

In 2016, the 51-year-old suffered an injury to one of her eyes when the knot at the end of a rope hit her eye while she was out gardening.

Coronation Street bosses have made changes to allow for her condition, including printing scripts in bigger fonts, changing around scenes for her, and arranging transport during a six-month period when she wasn't able to drive.

George told Mail Online: "I always think there are people far worse off than you, and I'm just grateful I can still see but we don't know what could happen in the future."

Read more: Coronation Street star Tina O'Brien 'caught in the middle of brawl with teenage girls outside her home'

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Lisa George
Lisa George. Picture: Alamy

After the rope incident, she lost sight in her right eye and scraped the side of her car. She was told later that she had permanently lost the sight at the bottom of her eye.

She went to doctors over and over again to try to find out what was wrong with the eye.

"Luckily my left eye was really good with 20/20 vision and the only thing I struggled with after that first incident was being able to read," she said.

"Corrie were great, they printed my scripts in a bigger font to make it easier but I just wasn't getting any explanation as to what had happened.

"I had scans, dye put into my eyeball, but the doctors were split as to whether it was the trauma from the rope or something else that had caused the haemorrhage at the back of my eye."

Lisa George
Lisa George. Picture: Alamy

In 2022, she suffered a frightening incident while driving home from a co-star's birthday party, when she lost the sight in her left eye.

George said: "I was driving home on the M6 when my left eye went really weird. I couldn't tell whether the lorries in front of me were merging into one, it was very frightening. I managed to get myself home and took myself back at A&E the following morning.'I ended up staying in there for a week which was horrendous.

"It was one of the worst experiences of my life. 'I had a CT scan on my head, two lumber punctures, and they wouldn't let me take my medication for my Diabetes which was making feel really poorly. 

"No-one seemed to have a clue what had happened, they just said 'you've got nerve clusters' and after a week they sent me home and told me to take Aspirin for the pain."

Lisa George
Lisa George. Picture: Alamy

After seeing doctors both in the NHS and privately for years, George was finally diagnosed with NAION in November last year.

She added: "My doctor was dead straight with me. She said that I would never get my full sight back. The damage was done and I had to live with it.

"When it first happened I was so petrified but I can't worry about what could or couldn't happen, it's no way to live. I've just got to get on with it.

"I've accepted what has happened. I've got my glasses and have my varifocal glasses for driving now too."

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