A cutting edge piece of assistive technology has ensured a young woman with low vision in Perth can make the most of her studies and share a precious family moment.
Kaitlin Larney was among the first Australians to take delivery of IrisVision and the first to receive one funded under Western Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
IrisVision is a revolutionary system that combines innovative proprietary software with virtual reality technology from Samsung to create a powerful tool that magnifies and enhances what the user can see.
Vision Australia is the sole stockist for IrisVision outside the United States.
Kaitlin, an animal studies student at Murdoch TAFE in Perth, has about five per cent vision because of cone-rod dystrophy, a condition that causes a patient’s retinas to degenerate, with effects including decreased vision sharpness, loss of peripheral vision and loss of colour perception.
IrisVision has aided Kaitlin’s TAFE studies, but for her the greatest impact was watching her younger sister’s high school graduation.
“That was awesome,” she said.
“I went from being able to see the blurs of shapes in front of me to seeing the little stick figure that my sister is walk up and then disappear on the stage. Even that moment of being able to see that was a lot more than I was ever going to achieve by myself.”
Kaitlin said it was an emotional moment.
“It meant a lot to her that I was there and even though it wasn’t in extreme detail, I was still able to see something of the ceremony. She knew that all the family was able to watch, so she was pretty stoked.”
In class, IrisVision enhances Kaitlin’s ability to read course notes and participate in activities.
“With IrisVision, and I am able to zoom in to watch a video in class. Being able to actively participate and discuss what was on the screen is good. My vision impairment is still there, and I still have some difficulties, but it’s built on what I have,” she said.
“I was able to watch my lecturer do a first aid demonstration. I was able to supervise dogs in the exercise area. I was able to scan the area and assess it as part of occupational health and safety with the course. There are so many things that I want to try out with IrisVision.”