“I sometimes come here with my daughter. She has macular degeneration, so it’s a great shop for the two of us. It’s amazing how everyday aids and equipment for low vision can make such a big difference – like my magnifier and liquid level indicator.”
Tirza is 83 and lost vision in both her eyes through retina vein occlusion.
“I lost sight in each of my eyes, six months apart. It was a massive blow, but I have received tremendous support from VisAbility. It’s no ordinary shop, because it stocks items to help you with your vision loss, and you receive individualised support from Ivani and her assistant Kate.”
Ivani is one of the faces behind our shop, also known as the Dr. Geoff Gallop Resource Centre. Ivani has a certificate in Allied Health Individual Support and a background in project management in the business sector. Like many people, she first arrived as a volunteer, before joining the VisAbility team as a staff member.
“I love my role at VisAbility, because when I introduce someone who has low vision to a device that makes their lives easier, you see their face light up,” she explains.
“I have had people walk in who are very stressed after losing their sight. After 45 minutes, they’re astounded to discover the vast amount of living aids available to help with tasks around their homes and in the community.”
Ivani Roque – Resource Centre Coordinator
Simple solutions for daily living
Ivani explains that it’s sometimes the simple solutions that are the most effective.
“Take, for example, velcro tactile markers and raised dot bumps for appliances like microwaves. It means you can feel your way around buttons and dials. They are also good for television controls,” she says.
“These velcro tactile strips are so simple. I’ll definitely be buying some for my washing machine.” Tirza adds.
The VisAbility shop has a selection of everyday aids and equipment for low vision. You can make an appointment even if you’re not a client. Items on offer include:
- Kitchen equipment
- Tactile markers
- Large print items such as calendars
- Talking and Braille clocks and watches
Items are available through various funding options including – Goods, Equipment and Assistive Technology (GEAT), through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and National Disability Insurance Scheme funding (NDIS). Pre-approved items also fall under the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Everyday aids and equipment at the VisAbility shop
Next year the VisAbility shop will undergo a revamp and have an even greater range of magnifiers on display.
Out of all the items in stock, what would Ivani recommend to people with low vision?
“Definitely the badge that states you have a vision impairment. It’s bright, it’s yellow, and it tells people that you have limited sight. If you ever accidentally knock into anyone, it means they’ll have a greater understanding of why.”
How to get support
If you are living with low vision, please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
There are also a number of low vision support groups within Perth and across the state, which can connect you with like-minded people to build friendships and offer support.
If you are a provider and wish to refer a client, please use our low vision medical certificate (online referral form) to make your referral.