Glaucoma Week: March 8 – 14, 2020

World Glaucoma Week

This week ProActiv People would like to acknowledge World Glaucoma Week.

With 111.8 million people are expected to have glaucoma by 2040, it is one of the leading causes of blindness.

Having almost lost his sight to glaucoma at 29, Kirk Pengilly from INXS helps to encourage Australians to look after their eye health during World Glaucoma Week.

“In 1985, I came within an inch of losing my sight because of glaucoma. Due to the severity of the disease, I was fast-tracked to a pioneering Australian ophthalmologist who quickly treated my deteriorating sight and prevented further damaged to my vision. Until that point I had no idea what glaucoma was,” Kirk shares.

“When I got glaucoma it really hit home and I realised how important sight was to me – and, obviously, to everyone. It was a real wake-up call as I came so close to losing my eyesight. As a result I’m certainly more aware of my eyes, my eye health and the importance of regular eye exams.”

Amazingly, Glaucoma is the leading cause of avoidable blindness worldwide, affecting more than 300,000 Australians, yet it is estimated that 50% of those living with glaucoma are undiagnosed.

Glaucoma in the Workplace

Adapting to your vision loss can be difficult, especially in your work-related activities.

Learn more about the following issues as you consider your options:

Gain as much knowledge as you can about your disease and your prognosis. If you have some remaining vision, you may be able to use a low-vision device, such as a telescope or other reading aid. Your doctor can examine you to see if you’re a good candidate.

A low-vision specialist can help you to maximise the vision you have so that you can continue to work safely and effectively.

Tell the specialist about:

  • The type of work you do
  • What you want to continue doing
  • Details about any visual difficulties you’re experiencing

Look into your options for early retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, keep in mind that it is often much easier to adapt your current work situation than to try to re-enter the workforce after leaving.

Work Accommodations for People with Glaucoma

If your aim is to continue your current job, good communication with your employer is a must. It’s critical for you to explain your situation and any adaptive needs, to ensure that your employer can make the proper accommodations for you.

Be clear in outlining your specific visual needs to your employer and co-workers, because they may not have experience with glaucoma and low vision. When you meet with your employer, provide details about what types of aids you may need, such as:

  • Large print labels for your materials
  • Different kinds of lighting/adjustments to control lighting and glare
  • Desk position
  • Low-vision devices such as a magnifier or CCTV/video magnifier for reading difficulty

Analyse your contract to see if there are any duties you believe you can no longer perform, such as:

  • Driving a vehicle
  • Moving equipment
  • Handling potentially dangerous or hazardous items

Consider how each of these issues can be resolved to come up with suggestions for your employer. Remember an Employer does need to make accommodations and adjustments.

Please contact ProActiv People if you require assistance. There are a number of modifications that are funded and available to facilitate you in your employment.

Watch this video from Vision Australia to find out more about Orientation and Mobility, and Seeing Eye Dogs in the workplace.




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