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“You can’t help if you don’t know”: Trio show reality of living with low vision in new series

Vision Australia 3 mins read

Vision Australia launches ‘The Pupil Project’ to address 2 in 3 Australians that don’t know how to assist people with low vision

Vision Australia has teamed up with three Aussies with lived experience to create a series of videos that shine a light on the reality of living with low vision and to correct common misconceptions.  

The videos follow the trio in everyday situations, highlighting how their disability is often overlooked, or worse, minimised, by those who don’t understand its true impact. 

Research commissioned by Vision Australia* showed that 2 in 3 Australians don’t know how to assist people with low vision, and The Pupil Project aims correct that as Australia’s low vision population is set to increase by 25% by 2030**. 

“Low vision is a clinical term for permanent vision loss that can’t be corrected by glasses. However, unlike someone who is blind, people with low vision won’t typically carry a white cane or have a Seeing Eye Dog. They appear to be just like you and I,” said Vision Australia National Brand and Marketing Manager Kristy Richards. 

“Our research highlighted that more than half of Aussies believe they’ve never interacted with someone who has low vision, despite there being almost half a million people living with this vision disability in the country.” 

But while knowledge of blindness or low vision is low, there is at least a willingness to learn, with 72% of sighted Australians open to learning more about being inclusive, whether that’s at work, school or in the wider community. 

Braedan Jason is a radio producer and co-star in The Pupil Project. While he often feels judged or looked down on when he asks for assistance, he’s hopeful that sharing his story can help correct those attitudes.  

“If there are three things that I’d like to come out of this campaign, it’s for people not to assume my abilities or my limitations, it’s also for more businesses, employers and policymakers to create a more accessible and inclusive environment for people with a disability. Also, to encourage someone to just ask if they’re unsure how to help. You can’t help if you don’t know how,” said Braedan. 

“It takes me quite a bit of time to build up the courage to ask for help. So many of my surroundings aren’t accessible for people like me, and even though I’m quite resilient and capable of a lot of things, it would be nice to know that I’m not alone if I need help.  

“There’s been times when I’ve asked for assistance to find a product at the supermarket because I can't read the small print, or I've needed to ask for directions because I can’t see the street signs, and the other person will look at me strangely because I don’t appear to have a disability. 

“Low vision or full vision, we’re just trying to get through our lives like everybody else.” 

The Pupil Project included people with lived experience at every stage of its journey; from the scriptwriter to the camera crew to the talent. The Pupil Project is also audio described and uses a unique lens so people can experience each situation through the eyes of someone living with the most common causes of low vision, such as, cataracts, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.  

* Source: ntegrity Low Vision Survey_2023. Over 1000 members of the general public were surveyed about their perceptions on Low Vision. 

** Vision Australia's BLV model is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics: (1) population estimates (ABS 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, 2016) and: (2) National Eye Health Survey, Vision 2020 Australia, 2016.

Videos and Images HERE. 

 

- Ends –


Key Facts:

  • More than two-thirds of Australians have never come across information about how to interact with or assist individuals with low vision.
  • More than half of Australians believe they’ve never interacted with someone who has low vision.
  • Vision Australia predicts there will be more than 564,000 blind and low vision people in Australia by 2030, based on ABS population projections
  • Younger Australians are more open to learning about inclusive practices, in comparison to 1 in 3 over 55s who are unsure. 

About us:

Vision Australia is a leading provider of blindness related services. We offer a wide range of services, equipment and training so people who are blind or have low vision can live the life they choose. 

Whether it’s at home, work, school or in the community, our expert staff provide clients across all age groups with skills and tools to help lead active, safe and independent lives.  

For more information on The Pupil Project, visit www.visionaustralia.org/services/helpful-resources/pupil-project


Contact details:

Stephanie Steinhoff-Pino | 0449 254 655 | Stephanie.steinhoff-pino@visionaustralia.org

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