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EYECAN Jersey urges the public to be more aware of people with vision disabilities 

Blind person with white stick walking on street and crossing a crosswalk.
Photo: Dreamstime

A Jersey charity in the U.K. is asking the public to be more cognizant of people with vision disabilities after the re-opening of shops last week. 

EYECAN says many of their members rely on memory, familiarity, and routine to maneuver streets and stores. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some layouts have been altered, which can be confusing and disorienting for shoppers with vision disabilities.

Agnetta Nerac of EYECAN said, “The changes to the layouts of shops and the changes that have recently been made in town, whilst we support the reasons why they need to be there, for people with visual impairment it does make life a lot more challenging.”

The charity is giving out special lanyards to people with vision disabilities, hoping that the public will take notice of them and realize that someone has an ‘invisible’ disability.

“If you see someone wearing one of these lanyards, they are someone that needs a bit more space, a bit more time to navigate. Just be kind and be patient with people who are finding these changes a little bit tricky,” said Nerac.

Donna Hill has had a vision disability, in one eye, for more than 12 years, but in the last six months, she has begun losing sight in her other eye.

Having the ability to shop on her own is very important to Hill.

“It’s all I’ve got. I can’t drive, I can’t go anywhere and do anything else. I know these streets like the back of my hand and that’s what I really appreciate being able to do. I usually stick to the side of a building or the middle of the path where there’s lines like in town and I just manage the best I can really,” she said.

Hill only recently started wearing the lanyard, but she said it has already made a big difference and helped be more visible.

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