Case Study – Sharon Donovan

Debilitating symptoms cured with a new pair of glasses

Sharon Donovan was in her final year of studies for a midwifery course when she began to suffer from severe headaches and vision problems.

The 43-year-old suspected she needed to update the prescription for her glasses but was unable to get the time off from work and study to visit the optometrist. The lack of services available in her Indigenous community also made it difficult.

"It was too difficult to schedule an appointment with an optometrist because I was so busy travelling from my home in Taree to the University of Technology in Sydney," Sharon said.

"But my headaches and vision problems only got worse. It really became a problem when I started spending long hours in front of the computer and constantly reading my nursing text books."

Sharon said she didn't realise how badly her eye problems were interfering with her life until she took part in the National Indigenous Eye Health Survey. Vision 2020 Australia member International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) identified her vision problems and arranged for her to see an ICEE-trained Aboriginal eye care coordinator, who prescribed a new, stronger pair of spectacles.

"It was great to be able to see clearly again and to live a life free of headaches and vision problems,'' says Sharon. "A simple eye test and a new pair of glasses was all it took to dramatically improve my quality of life and allow me to get on with my studies."

Now with her improved sight Sharon's headaches are a distant memory and she is on her way to completing her midwifery degree.

This year for World Sight Day Sharon is encouraging other Australians who are 40 and over to have their vision checked.

To find out more about refractive error visit the International Centre for Eyecare Education's website at (external link).