He became her eyes

Every morning, Mr Joshua Kwok meticulously combs the shoulderlength hair of his wife, Madam Josephine Lim.

He also goes shopping for lingerie with her and cuts her toenails.

These may sound like romantic gestures to most but for the couple, it is pragmatic - Madam Lim was diagnosed with Stargardt macular dystrophy, an eye condition which makes her legally blind.

She cannot see objects or people further than 1m from her.

"I can see colour and motion, but nothing is sharp. Everything is a blur," explains the associate director of sales at Royal Plaza on Scotts hotel.

As a result, she struggles with things such as some aspects of personal grooming and reading the tags on clothes.

Spectacles and contact lenses do not help, and there is no cure for the condition.

Doctors cannot tell if the condition will deteriorate to complete blindness, or stagnate.

"My grandfather turned blind when he was 65, and I feel scared when I think about whether that will happen to me," says Madam Lim, who is in her 30s.

But this uncertainty did not stop Mr Kwok, 35, from pursuing her after a first date they went on years ago.

It was her optimism, determination and love for her family which attracted the accounts manager to her.

The fact that she has a particularly bright smile helped too.

And although Madam Lim could not see well when they met while working as staff of Golden Village Entertainment, the fact that he was good-looking did not escape her notice, she confesses with a shy giggle.

They tied the knot in December 2005.

These days, Madam Lim counts on her husband as the pair of eyes she does not have.

He helps her with basic chores, such as hanging out the laundry.

"When I tried placing bamboo poles on racks mounted from the kitchen ceiling, they fell on me because I could not see the grooves clearly," she explains.

He also sews the buttons that fall from her clothes and drives her virtually everywhere, as Madam Lim cannot see the numbers on public buses.

When she has to take public transport on her own, she relies on a mobile phone app to tell her when to board.

A myriad of little tweaks - which include enlarging the font size of the text on her phone and computer to a minimum of 48 points - has helped her to live life normally.

But there are some things she can't do as a wife, which still puts a pang in her heart.

"We had just finished visiting a family in Sengkang and were driving towards Marina Bay Sands," she recalls. "Joshua was struggling to drive and look at the GPS at the same time, and was feeling a little frustrated.

"In that moment, I felt really sad that I couldn't help, or be like other wives, who would direct their husbands," she says, eyes brimming with tears. The couple are hoping to have kids, even though there is a one in four chance of Madam Lim's condition being hereditary.

"I want as many as possible. I can only hope that my kids won't get it.

"But even if they do, I will train them to be capable and independent, since I have gone through it myself," she says.

Mr Kwok, who admits that he has had to make adjustments in his lifestyle for his wife, points out that other bits of her personality, such as her good memory, make up for the disability.

"She can't drive and I do the cooking at home, but I don't see these things as a chore. If I could choose a wife all over again, it would still be her.

"She's very compassionate, sort of like my mother. She puts others before herself, and is patient and understanding. The list could go on," adds the smitten husband with a grin.

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