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Newly Diagnosed

Illustration demonstrating the newly diagnosed grieving process

You may be feeling frightened or overwhelmed by the diagnosis, and will have questions and concerns. This website can help you with information about common eye conditions, living with vision loss and services available to assist you.

A recent diagnosis of vision loss may be hard to accept and process. Learning to embrace vision loss is ongoing and will involve learning how to maintain your independence, emotional support and adjustment to the frustration and stresses which can be brought on in the early stages of diagnosis.

With guided help you will find the right support and resources, suited to your particular needs, situation and vision impairment.

There are numerous stressors which may affect your ability to cope, which is why it is essential to establish and preserve a positive approach to ensure successful vision rehabilitation.

For those who are newly diagnosed with vision loss, there are many stages to processing the multitude of psychological effects this can have on an individual. Some initial stages of the grieving process may be (in no particular order):

  • Shock — This is a typical reaction to a disturbing situation which enables the individual to find inner strength, courage, move forward and deal with the physical aspects of vision loss.
  • Denial — Many individuals go through a stage of denial when first diagnosed with vision loss and seek second opinions as initial diagnosis is very difficult to accept. The individual may continuously ask “why me?” “this couldn’t be true” and describe feelings of denial and unwillingness to accept.
  • Anger — Anger is a natural response as one deals with the emotional impact of an initial vision loss diagnosis.
  • Depression — Vision Loss can be significantly associated with depression and is a normal reaction to losing one’s sight. You may feel that you cannot perform and do things as you did in the past which can lead to feelings of worthlessness which in turn leads to you defining yourself by your vision loss. You may feel as though you are no longer in control of your life and that if you cannot see, how can you move forward? If these symptoms are ongoing and you are overwhelmed by depression, it is important to seek help via counselling or support groups. Click here for more information on support groups.
  • Grief — The length of time and type of grief experienced depends on the individual and is a natural part of the acceptance process of vision loss.

As difficult as a new diagnosis of vision loss can be, we’re here to let you know that you will be able to maintain your independence, mobility and quality of life and help is readily available to assist you in achieving this. Help and support can be found at your state’s local Guide Dogs Office. For more information and to contact your local Guide Dogs Office, please click on the link below that corresponds with your state/region.

As mentioned before, living with reduced or no vision does not mean you have to sacrifice quality of life or independence. Click here to read some inspiring testimonials from people who are currently living life to the fullest in spite of having a vision impairment. And click here to find out information on independent and accessible  travelling, taxi subsidy schemes, train/bus travel passes for people living with  a vision impairment and more.

For counselling assistance please visit any of the following support and counselling services that are listed below:

See below for a range of vision loss services in your area: