BEAUDESERT’s Annie Broad is lending her support to Guide Dog Queensland’s JulEYE campaign.
Ms Broad, whose sight has been diminished by macular degeneration, said she hoped her story would encourage people to have their eyes checked during the campaign period.
She said she saw an eye specialist after she was driving home from work one night and realised the glare from some traffic lights were too bright for her eyes.
Ms Broad said she believed the worsening of her sight was due to existing conditions until she received the diagnosis.
“I always knew I would lose my sight due to other conditions, but the macular degeneration definitely fast tracked it,” she said.
“The initial shock was very hard to deal with.”
Ms Broad said she was grateful for Guide Dogs support, as the services helped her deal with the loss of her sight.
“The Better Living Program helped me understand why I was feeling the way that I was and gave me strategies to deal with it,” she said.
“I was in a group of five people who had different diagnoses but we all had one thing in common, and that was the grief we felt losing a portion of our sight.”
Ms Broad said the training and tools Guide Dogs Queensland gave her, including a guide dog, was life changing.
“Before I started orientation and mobility training, I would hug the walls as I walked through shopping centres so I didn’t bump into anyone,” she said.
“Using a white cane definitely gave me more confidence, and then receiving my guide dog Ellie was a whole new thing entirely.”
Guide Dogs Queensland’s JulEYE campaign aims to highlight the importance of early detection and prevention, and the services on offer to support those dealing with vision loss.
Client services manager Margaret Hegarty said it was never too early to ask for help.
“Early treatment is the best defense against any kind of eye disease and we are so glad Annie has been able to benefit from the many programs we offer,” she said.
Ms Hegarty said deteriorating sight could often be dismissed as a sign of ageing when that might not be the case.
She said she encouraged people to attend the organisation’s free Vision Assessment Clinics for a check up this month.
To make an appointment, call 1800 810 122.