12 October 2023 marks World Sight Day, a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness around visual impairment, blindness and the importance of eye health. This day serves as a reminder of the need for regular eye examinations, early detection and treatment of eye conditions, and access to eye care for all, while also highlighting the tremendous strides made in eye care, research, and treatments.
On this World Sight Day we spoke to Gavin Davies, rehabilitation officer for visual impairment and vision rehabilitation specialist, who works as part of the sensory team at Salford Care Organisation.
Gavin said: “As a vision rehabilitation specialist (VRS), our role aims to deliver person centred holistic approaches to empower a person living with sight loss to maintain or regain safety and independence in areas around, visual mobility, daily living tasks, communications and lighting. The sensory team is very supportive, engaging and available to share a range of expertise to aid myself in working towards the most positive outcomes possible with people with a visual impairment in the community.”
Gavin and the team have helped many people in the community with visual impairments reach their goals, and have helped them feel reassured and secure through training and thorough assessment of care needs. Two of these community members shared their experiences:
Raymond said: “I was in a bad place before speaking to Gav who put me in contact with Kaye Cooke, sensory team social worker. After speaking with both Kaye and Gav, I realised how everything had been affecting me after my stroke and sight loss, they were both instrumental in to addressing my care needs.
“(Long cane) training with Gav, was a breath of fresh air, as it made me more aware of things like flag stones on the floor, where to cross the roads more safely, understanding crossing and environmental instruments. I can now mentally visualise where I need to go, using strategies I have been taught. After training, I feel totally aware, not clumsy, focussed, feeling safe and reassured in my travel.”
Elaine said: “Working with Gav and the sensory team, had made a massive difference to my daily life. We moved home during lockdown, so I was struggling with confidence to use my long cane. I felt socially isolated. The work with Gav really helped me to gain confidence using my cane. As a result, I’ve met people in the area, and feel much better mentally.”
If you would like to learn more about World Sight Day, you can find more information and resources on the World Sight Day website.
Sensory team in Salford, 0161 206 0604, email@example.com