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Suzanne has lived with diabetic retinopathy for the majority of her life.

Now 56 years-old, Suzanne still vividly remembers when she was diagnosed with the condition at age seven. Subsequent treatment eventually left her with no vision in her right eye.

“It was found that I had leaking blood vessels in the back of my right eye,” Suzanne recalls.

“I had 18 straight weeks of laser treatment on my eye to try and fix it. It worked for a while but all the laser treatment had cut out most of my retina… You can’t see without a retina.”

Suzanne took this in her stride and went about living life to its fullest. When she wasn’t working as a cleaner, she would take to one of her expressive pursuits like gardening or painting. Suzanne also married her now husband and the pair have several children.

Finding support

 Over the years Suzanne’s vision in her left eye also deteriorated, which had an impact on her day-to-day life. As a result, Suzanne and her family contacted Vision Australia for support.

“As the years have gone on I’ve lost all side vision in both eyes. I will sometimes walk into things like the clear security gates at supermarkets. I’ve gone so far as to break ribs and my wrist from falls.

 “My son finally said ‘Enough, we need to get you some help’. We came across Vision Australia that day and they’ve been amazing ever since. Through them I got my cane which I love to bits.”

Making the most of the NDIS

Suzanne has recently received her first National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) package and has already planned to access more of Vision Australia’s specialist services.

“I’ve just been accepted for some NDIS funding which is fantastic. Not only will it provide some useful technologies, but it will also enable me to have sessions to be able to live more independently again.

“Things like using public transport by myself and getting around in general will be so much easier.”

A new beginning

Suzanne is currently staying in Victoria with her husband and one of her sons, and is currently cut-off from other family, including her grandchildren, in South Australia due to COVID-19.

She’s eager to re-connect in person with her extended family, as well as some of her other passions.

“I was playing peek-a-boo with my eldest granddaughter on the phone the other day. It’s moments like those that I truly miss the most.

“I can’t wait to get home and do some painting. I’m sure Vision Australia has some tools that can assist with that, I do miss using that creative side of my brain.”

Interested in finding out more about Vision Australia's services or how we can help you access the NDIS? Call us today on 1300 84 74 66 or email [email protected].