Vision Australia’s response to COVID-19

Updated May 18, 2020

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Vision Australia’s goal has been to support the blind and low vision community, while ensuring the safety of our workforce, clients and wider community.

We are still very aware of the danger COVID-19 poses to Australians, but as of Monday, May 18, we are excited to provide you with increased flexibility in how you can access Vision Australia services and products.

What you need to know about Vision Australia services

Vision Australia is committed to supporting the blind and low vision community through the COVID-19 pandemic, while also keeping you safe.

We’ve made some temporary changes to allow us to do this. We’ve temporarily suspended face-to-face services, and as of 5pm Friday, April 3 you won’t be able to attend a Vision Australia location for the time being.

This doesn’t mean you can’t keep accessing our specialist blindness and low vision services and equipment.

Our team is ready to provide you with services via telehealth. This means you can use technology to connect and receive your regular Vision Australia services from the safety and comfort of your own home. All of our services are available to new and existing clients through telehealth.

If you have face-to-face appointments impacted by our decision, we will be in touch in the near future to discuss your options. You can also contact us by phone on 1300 84 74 66 or via email at info@visionaustralia.org.

Vision Australia services

Vision Australia will continue to focus on delivering specialist blindness and low vision services through telehealth appointments.

Telehealth appointments are conducted via technology, such as telephone or videoconferencing, and mean you can access the services you need from the safety and comfort of your own home.

You can learn more about our telehealth services in this video from Karen Knight, General Manager Client Services, by visiting our website or calling us on 1300 84 74 66.

Requests for face to face appointments will only be considered in limited circumstances. These requests will be considered against a range of strict criteria, including, but not limited to, whether there is an urgent need and a strict COVID-19 risk assessment.

Please do not visit a Vision Australia location without a confirmed appointment as you will be unable to enter and asked to contact us via phone.

We ask that you do not request a face to face appointment if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is suspected of having COVID-19.

What is so good about telehealth?

  • Easy and convenient access to services in your own home, so there is no need for you to travel
  • Safe for you and our service providers
  • You can invite your family or friends to be involved in a session, as multiple people can be connected at one time in different locations
  • Lower costs as your funding is used for the service only, there are no travel costs.

What technology will be used?

A telehealth session may use one or more forms of technology during an appointment. This may include:

  • Video conferencing via Zoom platform
  • Telephone based appointments
  • Use of email/SMS
  • Combination of the above.

If you would like to know more about telehealth at Vision Australia, head to www.visionaustralia.org/services/telehealth.

If you would like to continue your services using telehealth, or would like to book in a new service, call us now on 1300 84 74 66 or email info@visionaustralia.org.

Will I be charged for telehealth services?

Telehealth services will attract a fee just like a face to face service would. The fees vary depending on what funding you have.

If you don’t currently have funding available call us to discuss what options are available to you.

Your usual phone and data costs may apply for the telehealth sessions.

If you would like to continue your services using telehealth, or would like to book in a new service, call us now on 1300 84 74 66 or email info@visionaustralia.org

Vision Store

To be able to visit a Vision Store in a Vision Australia branch, you will need to call our National Contact Centre on 1300 84 74 66, they will then forward your request to your local Vision Store team. Your local Vision Store team will contact you to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment over the phone and arrange an appointment.

This allows us to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and also make sure we have the right product or support available for you. Our offices are following strict social distancing and hygiene protocols.

We ask that you do not visit us if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is suspected of having COVID-19

Visit our online Vision Store at shop.visionaustralia.org or call our Vision Store team on 1300 84 74 66. We continue to offer free shipping for online and phone purchases, as well as an extended returns policy from 30 days to 90 days.

Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs

The Seeing Eye Dogs team is continuing to carry out the vital work of breeding, raising and training Seeing Eye Dogs.

Some changes have been put into place to keep the staff, clients and volunteers safe, while allowing this work to continue. For more information, please visit www.sed.visionaustralia.org/covid19

Check in and Chat webinars

Each Tuesday and Thursday, we’re holding free Check in Chat webinars covering a range of different topics. From assistive technology, to managing stress and anxiety, learning how to self-advocate and more, the Check in Chat webinars have something for everyone.

Each webinar runs for around 30-40 minutes and is features a discussion and Q&A with Vision Australia experts.

Each webinar is free, but you do need to register. A list of upcoming webinars and information on how to register is available on our Check in and Chat webpage or email checkinandchat@visionaustralia.org.

Vision Australia COVID-19 Support Line

Do you have a COVID-19 related question about Vision Australia, other blindness and low vision supports, government advice or anything else?

Our dedicated COVID-19 support line is available on 1300 88 70 58 8.30am-7pm Monday to Friday AEST.

The support line is not an emergency resource. It is designed to help people who are blind or have low vision find and access information and troubleshoot COVID-19 related issues.

Call us today, our team is ready to help!

Vision Australia COVID-19 Pandemic pack

It’s important you have up to date and accurate information in a time like this, so we’ve pulled together our COVID-19 Pandemic Pack. 

The pack is free resource that people who are blind or have low vision can keep on hand for easy reference.

It’s full of great information about ways to stay safe and connected with the community, where to find the latest health and government advice and how you can keep up to date with Vision Australia.

You can request a free copy of the pack in your preferred format via our online Pandemic Pack order form.

General COVID-19 information and Government advice

If you would like more information about the COVID-19 situation in Australia, please visit the Australian Government Department of Health website

If you would like to speak to somebody about your situation, you can phone the government's 24/7 hotline on 1800 020 080. You can also phone your regular GP, or in emergency situations call 000.

The Australian Government Department of Health website can also provide you with the the latest information on government restrictions around gatherings, advice around social distancing 

Staying connected with Vision Australia

You can contact Vision Australia via phone on 1300 84 74 66 or via email at info@visionaustralia.org.

We have a number of ways we can help people stay connected with Vision Australia and the wider community, including:

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and we will be in contact if we are required to take further steps.

Ron Hooton
CEO, Vision Australia