Our stories

Meet one of our clients with cataracts

Alice was born with several eye conditions, including congenital cataracts, arinidia, nystagmus and Best's disease*, which affects the macula. At 13 she was diagnosed with glaucoma and has since been unable to see out of her left eye. She has about 3m central vision in her right eye but no peripheral vision. Not that this has stopped Alice from achieving.

In April, the Melbournian joined more than 100 students who are blind or vision impaired at the Southern Cross Games in Auckland. She competed in 50m heats of all swimming strokes. On the track she won a long-jumping gold, silver in the 400m sprint and bronze in the 200m.

Vision Australia was cheering Alice on, as we have been for most of her life. We gave her mobility training as a toddler, and in recent years have helped with her studies at Reservoir District Secondary College. "I'm in Year 11 and am studying English, photography, psychology, health and business," she says.

"I'm coping pretty well. My Vision Australia visiting teacher, Jane Pertile, has been great. She helps me develop photographs. And if I take digital images, I use a program called Zoomtext, which allows me to magnify the images."

Jane also helps Alice by enlarging text from her school books and sharing study tips. And she has installed an audio program on Alice's laptop that reads books aloud and makes it easier for her to do assignments and sit exams.

Senior school, Alice admits, is not without its challenges: "It can be a bit hard when you're reading a lot, but Jane is always there to talk through any problems."

Alice wants to be a journalist or an English teacher. She plans to do a writing course next year - and Vision Australia will be there to support her all the way.

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