Blog Post; October 2020

IWCD 2020, October 15

From all of us at the OMAA, we wish all of our members and the extended O&M community a very happy International White Cane Day for tomorrow. Are you running an event to mark the day? We invite you to send in your photos and short stories and we will feature it in our next blog!


A Step Forward Podcast

Looking for ideas on celebrating IWCD during COVID-19 times? Have a listen to the latest episode, Remote White Cane Day Activities. Interested in something else? Click here to find other episodes on a wide range of topics.


SPEVI Virtual Conference 2021

This online event will be held 18-19 January 2021 with the theme Celebrating Change. Visit the conference website to find out more.


Continuing Professional Development

The OMAA Online Symposium is over and initial feedback from attendees has been positive! So, what now? If you’re still looking for CPD (continuing professional development) opportunities, you can always check the website for suggestions. Click here for upcoming conferences and click here for more bite-sized CPD opportunities, including webinars from HumanWare, Perkins eLearning and AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired). Bookmark or favourite these pages for future reference!

Are you hosting or attending an upcoming CPD event? Would you like to be able to earn points towards ACVREP recertification at the same time? Click here to find out how you can apply to register your event.


AFB Flatten Inaccessibility: Impact of COVID-19 on Blind and Visually Impaired Adults in the United States

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has released the Flatten Inaccessibility research report, the culmination of survey findings from 1,921 participants who are blind or have low vision. The survey investigated the experiences of these participants during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine how they were affected in areas including transportation availability, healthcare, access to food and supplies, employment, education, and voting. This is an important piece of research and an excellent reference for our members. Read the report here.


How Remote Learning is Causing Visual Fatigue

This article features on the Perkins eLearning Paths to Technology blog. It discusses how students with low vision are adjusting to the move towards remote learning. Read the full article here.


Cocky Guides Sensory Short Breaks are back!

Cocky Guides specialise in providing unique, multi-sensory adventures for the blind and low vision community. Each adventure is designed for travelers who are active and competent with mobility using either a cane, guide dog or a companion as a human guide. Cocky Guides have been working on some exciting new destinations and COVID-compliant experiences within NSW and Queensland. Check out their latest adventure offerings here.


Win a Bluetooth earpiece via WeWALK

Would you like a chance to win a Bluetooth earpiece? Share your experience with using the WeWALK app and/or smart cane with the WeWALK team by sending an email to WeWALK with your full name at and they will send you details on how to participate. Three entries will be selected at random on October 17th and the lucky winners will be provided a free Bluetooth earpiece.


When to mention Blindness while Job Hunting

This is a topic that is often raised when working with consumers. Shane from the Supersense team shares his experiences and recommendations in this blog post, Full Disclosure: When to Discuss your Blindness in the Job Search. To find other interesting pieces, take a look at the full Supersense blog here.


iOS 14 update

Apple announced new technologies for people with vision impairment with the iOS 14 update, including improvements to VoiceOver. You can read more about the iOS 14 accessibility improvements here or listen to this AppleVis podcast.


From the Insight ophthalmic newsletter:

  • Australian researchers are using genetic testing to identify as many people as possible with inherited retinal disease, in preparation for an influx of life-changing gene and stem cell therapies expected over the next decade. Click here for more.
  • Guide Dogs Victoria CEO Ms Karen Hayes has been appointed as a board member of the International Guide Dogs Federation (IGDF) Board where she will represent Australia’s low vision and blindness community at a global level. Read more here.
  • A $4.7 million WA Government investment will help employ an eye health workforce at the under-construction Northwest Hub, the Kimberley region’s first permanent eye clinic. The centre will service six towns through outreach services, while providing access to ophthalmology and telehealth clinics, seminar rooms and open space for community diabetic health education. Find out more here.
  • An exciting story here about electromaterials experts who are working with a Sydney ophthalmologist to develop a bioengineered cornea and supporting collagen fibres to overcome major issues with transplantation. 
  • For 40 years laser therapy has been the standard treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy, but Australian ophthalmologists have a new pharmaceutical treatment option. Read more here.


‘Magic baton’ helps blind musicians feel conductor’s movements

And lastly, an uplifting story about a father and son team of inventors who have created the ‘Haptic Baton’ which converts the conductor’s movements into vibrations, and could make it possible for blind and vision impaired musicians to follow the conductor and be part of the orchestra. Watch the video here.