Understanding your friend's condition
Inherited Retinal Diseases (IRD) are genetic conditions that are caused by a variation in one or more genes. These variations result in the retina not functioning as it should, resulting in loss of vision over time. Some people may experience low vision from childhood or from their teenage years. Others may be diagnosed later in life with little indication they had an IRD previously.
IRDs are the leading cause of blindness in working age adults and although they are genetic conditions, your friend may be the only person in their family with the condition depending on the inheritance pattern. There are around 300 different genes that can cause IRD and the symptoms can present very differently in each person.
If you want to be proactive in your support, observe what your friend can do without help and where they may be struggling. If you see them struggling with a task, ask if help is wanted. In time you will learn when you can proactively assist and when you should allow them time to complete a task themselves.