17 October, 2023
Vision for the future of blind
For most of us, ordering a meal, catching public transport or browsing social media are routine activities we often take for granted.
However for those living with low vision or blindness, like Linda Ovenden, these seemingly simple tasks present significant challenges.
Last Sunday was White Cane Day, with an estimated 575,000 individuals grappling with low vision or blindness encountering barriers in their day-to-day lives in Australia.
Tools like the white cane play a vital role in providing mobility and independence to this community, enabling them to navigate the world safely and to its fullest.
Linda was not born blind, but throughout her life, her vision has become worse.
She sees only in tunnel vision, meaning she can no longer do things like walk the street or read or experience life the way she used to.
Feeling hopeless, Linda didn’t want to use a white cane due to the stigma surrounding it, but now she is an advocate for those who need it most.
“I was able to cope for the most part, but in the past 10 years, my vision loss has impacted me greatly,” she said.
“When life finally became unbearably bleak, I reached out to Guide Dogs Queensland and I wish I had swallowed my pride and done this sooner.
“They offered me the opportunity to learn how to use a white cane and after going through their training process, my independence returned.”
Going from hunching over to see where her feet were to now being able to confidently walk through Atherton without anxiety of falling, Linda’s quality of life has improved drastically since using a white cane.
She now leads her own support group to help visually impaired locals who need extra support navigating life without sight.
“My white cane has given me my life back and set me into a new direction,” she said.
Linda encourages anyone who is visually impaired to come along to her group, EyeConnect FNQ. where they have a new guest speaker every month.
The next meeting will be on 19 November at the Atherton Hotel’s Stump Function Room from 10.30am until 12pm. For more information, contact Linda on 0427 968 111