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20 October, 2015

Latest technologies at expo

A close up shot of someone using a magnifier to read a bus timetable

To make it easier for people in regional areas to access the latest low vision technologies, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in conjunction with Quantum RLV are running a series of free expos across Northern NSW, including Taree and Port Macquarie.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Regional Manager for Northern NSW, Jeremy Hill, said it was important that people with low vision sought help early to maintain independence and reduce the risk of accidents, but distance was often a deterrent.

The expos will offer visitors the opportunity to test drive low vision aids and equipment designed to enhance independence, from the leading companies in this sector.

"About one in seven Australians (1 million people) over the age of 50 has some evidence of macular degeneration* so it's important to let the community know there is equipment that can make reading brighter, bolder and easier to read," he said.

A range of equipment to enable people with vision impairment to read their favourite book, the newspaper or play cross words will be showcased. "Users of this technology are delighted that they can see photos of their grandchildren and families again," Mr Hill said.

"Some of the equipment can be used in the home and other technologies are portable and enable the user to read price tags, signs and labels in the shops," he said.

Aids on display will include hand-held and desktop electronic magnifiers to help with reading, lighting options for craft work, text-to-speech devices, digital audio books, screen reading software and Braille keyboards.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will also display a variety of aids, including long canes and electronic devices like Miniguides, which are hand-held obstacle detectors that work like a reversing sensor on a car, that can help people with low vision to be safe when getting around and prevent falls.

Local Orientation and Mobility Instructors from the organisation will be on hand to provide information about the free services offered by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

The number of people with some evidence of macular degeneration will increase to 1.7 million by 2030, in the absence of effective prevention and treatment measures.*

Each year, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's highly trained instructors work with almost 4,000 people of all ages to help them achieve their mobility goals. Programs are tailored to meet the lifestyle needs of each individual, and most training is delivered locally, in the person's home, community or work environment.


10am - 2pm, Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Where: Manning Uniting Church, 29 Albert St, Taree
RSVP: (07) 3831 4894 or email, info [at]

10am - 2pm, Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Where: Panthers Club Port Macquarie, 1 Bay St, Port Macquarie
RSVP: (07) 3831 4894 or email, info [at]

* Macular Disease Foundation Australia - Deloitte Access Economics Report: Eyes on the future: A clear outlook on age-related Macular Degeneration 2011.