Katie had looked everywhere for help… until she spotted the mention of a webinar in MDFA’s newsletter.
Katie has been wearing glasses since she was five years old and has had severely limited vision in her left eye since a retinal bleed in her 20s.
With both her 70th birthday and cataract surgery on her good right eye coming up on the calendar, the Melbourne nurse was on the hunt for an assistive device to enhance her vision.
And after other organisations struggled to give Katie the help she needed, it was an MDFA webinar – “Maximising vision with low vision aids” with Stewart Andrews from Quantum RLV – that put her in touch with the magnifier she was looking for.
“I thought there was no help out there,” says Katie, who discovered the webinar in MDFA’s Vision Voice newsletter.
“I’ve been getting the MDFA newsletter in the mail forever – this particular one that I looked at talked about an assistive technology webinar, and I thought ‘wow!’
“I just knew there was all this stuff out there, I just didn’t know how to access it.
“Out of that came that I would need a quality magnifier. The other thing that came out of that was that there is some help for me, even now.”
MDFA’s webinars have proved popular since they replaced face-to-face education sessions at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between March and June 2020, 93 per cent of attendees rated the webinars as either excellent or very good, while 70 per cent found the webinars either extremely or very useful.
Guest speakers have shared their expertise on topics such as nutrition, mental wellbeing, research, carer support and – thankfully for Katie – assistive technology.
You can join MDFA’s virtual classroom by registering for one of our upcoming webinars, or you can watch recordings of past webinars on YouTube.
“Having webinars like that is amazing. I watch it over and over and over again,” Katie says.
“I’m a YouTuber. I love YouTube. You can learn anything and everything on YouTube. And to find the webinar was just magic for me. And the recordings of the webinar, you can sit down and take notes and listen to it again. It’s so much better. It’s a very powerful teacher.
“It was like suddenly there was sunshine again after the very dark rain, because I thought there was nothing out there for me. But this happened.”
Katie’s top tips for living well with vision loss
Katie has been myopic since she was five and lost much of the central and peripheral vision in her left eye after a retinal bleed in 1977.
So she’s had plenty of practice figuring out the little tips and tricks for living well with low vision.
Here are five practical pieces of advice Katie has for people with limited vision.
· Use bright colours to help with depth perception. “Black is a disaster, so I stuck bright red tape on a strategic spot on a black iPhone cable. Simple.”
· Katie works as a nurse, and since the pandemic began, she has spent more time behind her computer on telephone conferences with patients. “At work, I’ve got two big screens, which is just marvelous. Obviously, you increase the font size as much as you can.”
· Fasten small safety pins to the labels of dark-coloured clothing, to distinguish which side is the front and which side is the back. “You can feel them, and they glint as well.”
· Tie elastic bands around containers, to help differentiate which one is which. “I used to pick up every single one before I realised which is the right one to take. So, finally, I put an elastic band around it, so I can feel the right one.”
· Use bright, contrasting colours to make things easier to see. “In my job, I need a tape measure – it’s bright pink. Shopping bags, I get rid of the navy-blue ones – I only get bright red ones.”
For more tips and advice, order a copy of MDFA’s booklet on Living Well with Vision Loss.