State Government Victoria Australia Department of Health header
State Government Victoria
Victorian Government Health Information
Health Home
Main A to Z Index | Site Map | About Health  

November 2019

People having a tour of hospital jpeg
Vision Australia orientation and mobility specialist Jessica Timmons with Jason Spowart, Mark Pettigrove and Terrence Byrne.

Bendigo residents get to see hospital

Bendigo Health hosted a hospital orientation tour for people with low vision as part of Vision Australia’s White Cane Day.

Vision Australia orientation and mobility specialist Jessica Timmons said many vision-impaired people could feel lost and anxious in places they had never visited and those uncertain feelings were often amplified during a hospital visit.

‘People assume that someone with low vision has a companion but some don’t,’ Ms Timmons said.

‘You have to fend for yourself if you’ve got no support and that’s not easy.’

The tour helped familiarise white cane users with the hospital.

‘Even something as simple as getting to the hospital from the bus stop can be difficult for vision-impaired people,’ Ms Timmons said.

As well as the tour, Vision Australia provided people with a virtual reality experience that replicated eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy to give an understanding of what low vision was like.

Vision Australia estimates there are 384,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision.

The blind and low-vision population in Australia grew by 7.6 percent from 2013 to 2016.

Only five percent of print material is available in accessible formats in Australia.

The most common causes of blindness and low vision are age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.