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Services

Research shows that low vision increases the risks of falls, accidents and depression, so don’t leave it too late to seek help.

What does the world look like with vision loss?

Macular Degeneration is a degenerative condition affecting central vision. Reading and crossing roads safely may be difficult. Early detection can slow down progression of the disease and improve treatment.

Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by diabetes and can result in increasingly blurred, patchy and fluctuating vision. Regular eye checks are crucial to reducing the risk of vision loss.

Neurological Vision Impairment (NVI) can result from an acquired brain injury. Glasses may not improve vision. Homonymous Hemianopia is a common type of NVI.

Eye condtions infographic, outlining various eye conditions

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the fine nerves connecting the eye to the brain. Glaucoma can result in tunnel vision and even total blindness. Early detection is vital.

When most people think of vision impairment, vision loss and blindness, they think about guide dogs. But a Guide Dog is just one of the ways in which people with impaired vision can be assisted, to get around safely.

Where do I seek help?
Guide Dogs Australia provides assistance to people with different levels of vision impairment, from all walks of life and age groups. Anyone who has a vision loss that is causing them to have difficulty moving around safely and confidently can receive an individually tailored Orientation and Mobility program.

All our orientation and mobility services including Guide Dogs, are completely free to anyone who needs them.

Available Services
Whilst Guide Dogs Australia is essentially recognised for Guide Dogs, they also offer an extensive range of individually-tailored orientation and mobility training – all delivered free of charge.

These specialised programs teach skills on a one-to-one basis to help people move around safely, independently and confidently in their community, including:

  • Road crossing strategies
  • Use of public transport
  • Orientation (how to find your way around)
  • Minimising falls risks

Training may also include canes, electronic aids and GPS systems which are all used to help those with impaired vision to navigate their way around, ensuring they can stay both independent and mobile. And the best part is we travel to you. Meaning you get the training where you need it most, in your home, around your local community or at your workplace.

O & M instructor working with client, showing direction

 

Low Vision Training
This training is tailored for people with low vision and teaches them how to use their remaining vision effectively in everyday situations. This may include:

  • Advice on how to best function in your home environment
  • Training to use specific visual skills such as scanning
  • Training to use a low-vision aid such as a monocular, which is a special magnifying telescope

Children’s Services
For children with vision impairment, confident, purposeful movement is essential to ensure they reach their full potential.
No one is too young to receive assistance from Guide Dogs. Our Childrens’ programs are tailored to each child’s age and skill level. We encourage children to move around with confidence and explore their surroundings independently and safely.
Our family-based services are available in the home, within the community and at pre-schools and schools where we work with other professionals involved in educating the child.

Neurological Vision Impairment (NVI) Programs
Many people who have vision impairment as the result of a brain injury find their eyes may still function well but the messages being transmitted to the brain can be misinterpreted. At Guide Dogs we assist people whose vision has been affected by conditions such as stroke, tumour or brain injury. Each NVI program teaches the person how to compensate for their vision loss and aims to restore their confidence in getting around safely and independently.

Specialist instructors provide a one-to-one service.

Low vision client seeking assistance at the low vision clinic

Low vision client seeking assistance at the low vision clinic

 

How much does it cost?
All Guide dogs Australia services are completely free. This includes:

  • The initial assessment and training you receive from an Orientation and Mobility Instructor.
  • Any equipment or mobility aids that you might need, including canes, electronic devices and even
  • Guide Dogs.
  • All ongoing training you need to keep you independent. Including familiarising yourself in new areas
  • or learning how to use the latest mobility device.
  • Interpreter costs.

Why is it important to seek help early?
Research has revealed that many people with low vision wait too long before seeking help and support,
putting them at an increased risk of falls, accidents and depression.

Last year, Guide Dogs worked with 3,500 people with impaired vision across NSW and the ACT. However there is still a large number of people who are not seeking help.

Due to the health and lifestyle risks, if you or someone you know is having trouble with their sight, it’s important to seek our assistance early, to help maintain your quality of life and independence.

If you or someone you know has trouble getting around because of a vision condition, please contact your nearest Guide Dogs office to arrange a confidential assessment.

Research shows that low vision increases the risks of falls, accidents and depression, so don’t leave it too late to contact us.

The best way to prevent vision loss is to have your eyes checked regularly. Often there are no symptoms to indicate that your vision might be changing. However if you think you may have a problem with your sight, you are not alone. By 2020, around 800,000 people in Australia could have a vision impairment that affects their daily life.