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Photo: Lacey Coulson leads a blindfolded Bailey Gavin around the Eye Clinic

Part V BOptom students participated in the annual Low Vision day in March to increase knowledge of difficulties patients with vision impairments have.

Students asked low vision volunteers questions like “How do you know what clothes to wear?” and “Should you ask someone with a white cane walking down the road if you can be of assistance?” in an interactive panel discussion, resulting in an engaging session with periodic roars of laughter.

The answers were: they simplified their wardrobe down into black and white clothes, and when you see someone walking down the street with a white cane, please ask them if you can be of assistance. When someone with visual impairments would like some sighted guide assistance, let him or her hold onto your arm so you lead them: don’t grab their arm and get them to lead you!

Low Vision history, vision and refraction skills were enhanced as the students examined demonstration patients who kindly gave their time. Being guided around by a sighted person while having their eyes closed was a shock to most students, and allowed them to relate to people with blindness and vision loss. A variety of technological visual rehabilitation tools, from accessibly features on phones and computers to closed circuit television, google home assistant and refreshable braille displays were also introduced to the students during the hands-on session.

Special thanks to BLENNZ, Blind and Low Vision New Zealand, SOVS staff and the volunteer people with low vision and visual impairments.

Photo: Student Wen Wen Huang examines Susan Grimsdell