Love your eyes and support the eye health journey of others this World Sight Day 2021
World Sight Day is an International Day of Awareness for the global issue of eye health, which affects nearly everyone on the planet at some point in their lifetime.
This year the theme is #LoveYourEyes, and this means being aware of your eye health, accessing support when needed and recommending others do the same.
At Guide Dogs Australia, we ask our Clients regularly about their individual journey. Here’s what came through strongly this year:
Family and friends are pivotal
The most likely way for our Clients to be referred is by family and friends.
What’s more, family and friends come out top when it comes to where Clients source information, with a similar proportion doing their research online or being given it by a healthcare practitioner.
Clients are also most comfortable asking for help in social media groups that are made up of their loved ones.
This means that family and friends can play a vital role in encouraging people with low vision or blindness to seek support where they need it.
Men can be harder to engage with eye health
Our female Clients are around twice as likely to have engaged with our services in the past week, where male Clients are more likely to have gone years without seeking additional support.
Males also have lower awareness of the breadth of services Guide Dogs have on offer, which might contribute to them feeling less confident that we can support them in achieving their goals.
More than dogs
We are so much more than an organisation that just provides Guide Dogs.
In fact, 70 percent of the support and services we offer are not dog related.
We support people with low vision or blindness at every stage of their journey, through a variety of services that can be adapted to meet individual needs.
Clients come to us wanting to explore new services that will help them reach their individual goals, ranging from technology solutions, occupational therapy, peer support, and cane and Guide Dog training.
Karen Hayes, CEO Guide Dogs Victoria said, “seeking support when needed is one of the top ways to love your eyes – but it’s never too late to reach out to Guide Dogs or encourage a loved one to do so.”
“No matter what kind of vision changes you are experiencing, we are here to support you.
“There’s more services and technologies out there to support people through what can be a daunting journey than many realise. Being able to access these services to continue hobbies or work can make a huge difference to someone’s independence.
“If you’re noticing changes in your own vision, or know someone who could use our support – especially men – then this World Sight Day is a great time to think about reaching out,” Ms Hayes added.
Phone 1800 804 805 to find out more about how Guide Dogs Victoria can assist you, which may include making an appointment with one of our Orthoptists to learn more about any vision changes you may be experiencing. They can make recommendations about your next steps.
You can find out more about the service Guide Dogs offers by visiting www.guidedogs.com.au