Our meeting on 9th December was held at the offices of the Oxford Association of the Blind (OAB) on Abingdon Road in Oxford.
Colin is the director of the OAB which was founded in 1877. OAB works with people who are visually impaired to help make their lives easier and to provide emotional and practical support.
Colin explained that only 5% of visually impaired people are completely blind and that visual impairment covers any condition where the sufferer cannot see well, even with glasses or contact lenses. Colin described the main categories of visual impairment and showed us examples of how they may view the world:
tunnel vision, peripheral vision, distorted vision and cloudy vision. Sufferers can have more than one condition at the same time
Colin then showed us round the office to show us some of the gadgets the OAB can provide to help visually impaired people. The photos below show some of the items that visually impaired people can use. OAB can provide advice on areas such as lighting and magnification and on equipment such as talking microwaves, scales, clocks and watches, liquid level indicators to prevent spillages when pouring drinks, large button phones/mobiles and voice activated phones/mobiles. He even demonstrated how small rubber tabs fixed to a washing machine can make a big difference.
OAB also works with other national and local organisations on advocacy issues and in education/social services to help those with needs/advertise the services available. The organisation employs a councillor to help those who have just discovered they have a visual impairment, as well as 10 full time staff and 100 volunteers. They provide volunteer visitors in the Oxford, Kidlington and Abingdon areas, they provide IT training for clients, and they run seven social groups, two of which are for younger people.
Clients are referred by social services or by the eye hospital in the JR Hospital. OAB also advertises its services to commercial and hospital optometrists to increase awareness of the organisation.
Read more about OAB at www.oxeyes.org.uk
The club presented Colin with a donation for the OAB and thanked him for the use of his office for the meeting.
tabs on a washing machine mkae it simple to find the right setting
In the OAB kitchen – lots of useful gadgets
large clocks and phones
demonstrating the magnifier
more useful bits of kit