Chef Rosemary Shrager’s terror after discovering she’s at risk of going blind

Celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager accompanied her ex to the eye clinic for support – and discovered SHE is at risk of a condition that could send her blind.

The TV cook mentioned to medics at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London that her father suffered from glaucoma.

They did an on-the-spot test and found Rosemary could develop the hereditary and irreversible condition which causes damage to the optic nerve.

It can cause partial sight loss and, in rare cases, total blindness. Early detection and treatment is vital for a patient’s prospects.

The news struck Rosemary, 68, like a thunderbolt and she admits being “scared, really scared” of going blind.

She says: “My father John had glaucoma and had to take drops three times a day.

“His mother Aggie was diagnosed too late and went blind.

“I had two great aunts, Maud and Brenda, who also went blind from it. I didn’t realise for a long time that it’s often hereditary.

“Then I went to hospital with my ex-husband (Michael), who had a detached retina.

“I happened to mention there had been glaucoma in my family and it was recommended I have the appropriate test. I’ve had one every year since.”

Rosemary was referred to a specialist two years ago – and then to her local hospital in Pembury, Kent.

The progress of her glaucoma – often referred to as “the silent thief of sight” if undetected – has been very gradual.

But it is only heading in one direction. Quite soon, she thinks, Rosemary will have to start using eye drops three times a day.

The diagnosis left Rosemary shaken and with a deep-seated fear of turning blind.

She adds: “Of all the senses, losing my sight is the one I’d fear the most.

“Taste and smell are important, of course. I make my living as a cook. And I’d hate to go deaf. But going blind would be the worst. I wouldn’t be able to work. It would devastate my life. The thought scares me, really scares me.”

Rosemary was speaking after being chosen as an ambassador for Specsavers ahead of National Eye Health Week, which starts on September 23.

The glaucoma diagnosis was not Rosemary’s first health scare.

She developed Type 2 diabetes and last year dropped three dress sizes after taking part in ITV show The Fast Fix, in which participants lived on a diet of just 800 calories a day. Rosemary recently admitted that to keep her weight down she only eats between midday and 8pm.

She goes on: “It’s salad for lunch today with chicken or cottage cheese, no grazing during the afternoon and then runner beans with avocado and some veg this evening. I love my wine – red, preferably – and champagne.

“But I often go days at a time without any booze. My weakness? Crunchy peanut butter on hot buttered toast.”

Mum-of-two Rosemary started out as an agency chef cooking directors’ lunches in London.


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