Patients don’t have to be blind to receive mobility help from Guide Dogs.
Guide Dogs Australia will promote a simple message to celebrate International Guide Dog Day on Wednesday 27 April; “You don’t have to be blind to receive help from Guide Dogs.”
Nor do patients need to pay – free services are readily available from Guide Dogs Australia member organisations to help people with vision loss stay mobile and independent.
Optometrists and ophthalmologists can help patients by informing them that the Guide Dogs organisation in their State can help anyone whose vision condition is impacting their ability to get around safely.
As the leading provider of guide dogs and other mobility services, Guide Dogs Australia offers a range of free services to suit people with different levels of vision impairment
“Vision impairment has been linked to an increased risk of falls, accidents and depression,” said Jennifer Moon, Community Education Co-ordinator for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.
“Yet we’re concerned that people with low vision may be reluctant to seek our services because they believe you have to be blind to receive help.
“Early intervention is critical to maintaining independence and leading a normal, active life.”
Recent Access Economics research1 shows that low vision can needlessly impact on a person’s quality of life and independence and that vision loss increases the risk of accidents, depression and even death.
The research also shows that more than half a million Australians were reported to have vision loss in 2009, and of these 66,500 were blind, with these figures projected to rise by almost 40 per cent by 2020.
As the leading provider of guide dogs and other mobility services, Guide Dogs Australia offers a range of free services to suit people with different levels of vision impairment.
These services include training people in how to use guide dogs, guide canes, electronic travel devices and their remaining vision to be able to get around safely, confidently and independently.
If you have a patient who is having trouble getting around because of a vision impairment, contact the Guide Dogs Australia organisation in your State or visit www.guidedogsaustralia.com.au.
1 Access Economics Clear Focus: The economic impact of vision loss in Australia in 2009 report