Vision Australia has urged sight-impaired Border residents to seek more support.
Riverina and North East Victoria regional manager Helen Vey said about 80 per cent of blind and low-sight people had not accessed the support available.
“We have about 500 clients in the area and we know there’s a lot more people out there who could benefit from our services,” she said.
“It’s estimated the blind and low-vision population in our region is over 5000 people.
“It’s a big gap and we want to show people there are techniques to help them go about their daily activities.”
Vision Australia held an expo on the latest technologies available for living with impaired sight at the Commercial Club in Albury.
Albury occupational therapist Katrina Daniher said GPS devices that told people as they moved the safest route to a destination were among the most beneficial devices available.
“A lot of the bigger items, like CCTVs that read text, we still have, but there’s smaller, more portable options as well,” she said.
“We have things for reading, for mobility, GPS systems that show you where to go – they’re great and create a lot of independence for people.
“We can’t wait for the National Disability Insurance Scheme to come in, it will make a big difference with funding.”
The 2015 Snapshot of Blindness and Low Vision Services in Australia found that only 30 per cent of income for leading service providers, including Vision Australia, was derived from government funding.
The NDIS, due to roll out on the Border in 2017, will provide funding for essential communication devices like braille displays and training for seeing eye dogs.
Wangaratta resident John Collins said for him, and many other legally blind people, seeing eye dogs remained the best aid possible.
“I had a GPS that they were showing this morning and that helps, but you become too reliant on it,” he said.
“There’s a freedom to get away from tapping with the cane with having a dog.
“It’s like being given your life back … without him I wouldn’t be here.”