New Zealand Sites and Sources
everybody provides general health information for New Zealanders. Under "Health Centres: Eye" is a range of topics, including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, macular holes, and retinal detachments. Several eye conditions are illustrated in brief Human Atlas videos.
The Mental Health Centre has information on depression, which frequently affects people experiencing vision loss.
Geneticists and Genetic Counsellors
If you have been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa or another eye condition with genetic origins, you may want to speak to a geneticist or genetic counsellor. They are based at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch Hospitals.
- Auckland: (09) 307 4949 or call free 0800 476 123
- Wellington: (04) 385 5310 or call free 0508 364 436
- Christchurch: (03) 379 1898 or call free 0508 364 436
You can find general information about genetic counselling at everybody under Health Topics A-Z Quick Links.
Save Sight Society
The Save Sight Society has illustrated information about age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma on their Patient Information web page.
New Zealand Association of Optometrists
The New Zealand Association of Optometrists leads the annual Save Our Sight month-long public awareness campaign for eye health and safety. There's a lot of information about eye health and safety on the Save Our Sight website, and education resources produced for the campaign are available on the NZAO website's "Interesting Stuff" page. For example:
- information about lighting for people with low vision, and effective colour contrast;
- PowerPoint presentations illustrating several eye topics, including diabetes and the eye, age-related macular degeneration, and low vision and the eye conditions that can cause it.
This is Retina NZ's resource booklet for people newly diagnosed with retinal disorders and for anybody adjusting to living with reduced or low vision. You can download a PDF version here. Your Blue Book will help you access information about your diagnosis and treatment, making your thoughts and needs clear, and finding suitable sources of advice and assistance. There are sections on education, employment, and leisure, and also suggestions for managing around the home and when you're out and about.
Low Vision Aids and Equipment
Low vision aids and equipment range from the traditional, like magnifying lenses and large print books, through household equipment such as adapted kitchen utensils and easy-to-see big button telephones, to assistive technology like hand held electronic magnifiers and portable or desktop magnifiers (closed circuit television, or CCTV) for text, photos, and other items.
Some CCTVs are stand alone, others can be connected to your computer. They are expensive, so before investing in one it's worth getting an assessment of your specific vision and work or hobby needs, or at least attending a demonstration of product capabilities.
- Optometrists can advise on low vision aids and options.
- Adaptive Technology Solutions Ltd. facilitates access to and use of assistive technology, including assessments and training.
- The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind has an on-line Equipment Shop. Prices are subsidised for RNZFB members; the RNZFB also provides assessments for its members. Anybody is welcome to attend their equipment display days that are held around New Zealand. Information about display days is on their website.
- Assistive technology product information is on the websites of Pacific Vision and Humanware.
Low Vision Clinics
Low Vision Clinics help people make the most of their remaining vision by providing living skills assessments and advice. There is a number of clinics around New Zealand. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can tell you if there is any in your locality, and whether you would be eligible for referral.
To find an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist near you:
- Optometrist: Use the New Zealand Association of Optometrists "Locate an Optometrist" search function, or contact their national office on (04) 473 2322 or call free 0800 439 322.
- Ophthalmologist: Use the "Looking For?" search function for Specialists at everybody. Enter "ophthalmologist" in the Speciality box and your location in the City/Town box and click Search.
Alternatively, your GP or practice nurse will know of eye professionals based in your area or who hold regular clinics there.
Macular Degeneration New Zealand
MDNZ is a charitable trust which aims to increase public awareness of macular degeneration and reduce its incidence and impact in New Zealand. Their website has fact sheets on macular degeneration, treatments, and nutrition, with more detailed information available in downloadable booklets.
The following pamphlets are available from our Membership Officer:
- About Retina New Zealand
- Coping Strategies: tips for adjusting to vision loss
- Detached Retina: a matter of urgency
- Take the Amsler Test: a self-testing card for early detection of macular degeneration
These are free to members. A charge is made to non-members to cover printing and postage.
And don't forget that our quarterly Newsletter has lots of information!