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Vision Australia has today launched See Like Me, a campaign to showcase the incredible things people with low vision are achieving as part of this week’s World Sight Day and International White Cane Day. 

Vision Australia’s own research has found that there is a misperception in the general community that your eyesight is described as either blind, sighted or having to wear glasses. But it’s not that simple.

“Many people will go through life with some deterioration of their eyesight that can be corrected by wearing glasses. But for others, conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts can cause severe vision loss. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop achieving things in life or doing the things you love,” said Vision Australia general manager, Michael Simpson.

Included in the campaign is the story of 24-year-old Jack Tyrell who lost his central vision as a teenager, making university a challenge. Vision Australia has supported Jack throughout his studies, where he completed his degree and is now working in marketing in Sydney.

The campaign also includes information and fact sheets about common eye conditions and an interactive visual simulation of what it might be like to see with each eye condition. 

Mr Simpson said contacting Vision Australia early is important. 
“We recommend you contact us when you are first referred to an ophthalmologist, or when you feel your glasses are not working, you’re bumping into objects, losing your balance, noticing more glare – you don’t need a GP referral to contact us,” he said. 
Visit seelikeme.org to read about inspiring people living with, and achieving great things, with low vision, and to learn more about eye conditions.

Vision Australia has a number of events happening across the country to raise awareness of low vision, and the importance of white canes to increase independence. Many of the events will offer sighted people the chance to wear simulation glasses for eye conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts so they can, for a brief moment, experience an insight into low vision for themselves.

It’s estimated there are around 357,000 people who are blind or have low vision in Australia and around 5000 of them use a white cane. 

Listen to Vision Australia Radio’s interview with Orthoptist, Ginny MacDonald.