New research suggests more than half of Australians are waiting too long to seek help with deteriorating eyesight.
Guide Dogs Australia conducted a survey of more than 600 people with low vision or blindness and found more than 50% put off going to a professional, leading to an increased risk of accidents and loss of independence.
The research also revealed more than 25% of respondents waited for more than a year to have an examination after first experiencing vision problems. A further 18% waited for more than five years and 11% more than 10 years.
Out of the respondents surveyed, 46% said they did not seek help because they didn’t believe they needed it, while almost 20% said they did not know where to go for assistance. More than half regretted not seeking help sooner.
According to a statement by Guide Dogs Australia, some respondents said it took time to realise reduced vision was not normal, and for others, recognising they needed help was “the most challenging part”.
Guide Dogs Australia spokesperson and chief executive officer of the organisation’s Victoria branch Ms Karen Hayes stated it could take an incident such as a near miss with traffic or getting lost in a familiar place to prompt patients to seek help.
The survey results were released as Guide Dogs Australia launched a national campaign, Don’t Delay, Seek Help Today, ahead of World Sight Day on 13 October and International White Cane Day on 15 October, that urged people to ask for assistance with eyesight problems sooner.