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Awareness week highlights vision loss

SEVEN years ago, 57 year-old Graham Willets had to face the realisation that his vision was starting to deteriorate.

“I just didn't think I was old enough for anything like this to affect me - knowing I was losing my sight really took the wind out of my sails and I ended up very depressed,” Mr Willets said.

He was not alone. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older Australians, affecting one in seven people over the age of 50.

But many suffers are not aware of the assistance that Vision Australia can provide, and as part of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week the organisation wants to remind people what they do.

Mr Willets made contact with Vision Australia almost three years ago and he hasn't looked back since.

“The hardest thing for me was to become so reliant on my family who had to help me do even the simplest things,” he said.

He said after a visit to Vision Australia, that all changed.

“Vision Australia has helped make things I found difficult so much easier, like tactile markers on my oven and microwave, and fortnightly trips to the shops,” he said.

“It's all simple stuff but very effective - it made me feel independent again.”

He said while there were things he missed, like driving, there was much he could still experience.

“I am still able to enjoy my other loves such as reading books from Vision Australia on my DAISY player,” Mr Willets said.

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when central vision deteriorates, making reading, close work and recognising faces more difficult.

For more information or to support Vision Australia telephone, 1300 84 74 66 or visit www.visionaustralia.org


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