THE COOMA-MONARO Friends of Vision Australia received a big pat on the back and a giant "thank you" from head office last week for its efforts in fundraising and helping local people.
Peter Longhurst, the bequests and community fundraising officer of Vision Australia, visited from Sydney to talk to the local annual general meeting.
He told president Betty Mattner and her volunteers that Cooma-Monaro had raised more than $65,000 over the years for Vision Australia.
Mr Longhurst said this was a "wonderful achievement" and supported people who were blind or had low vision.
Vision Australia was "truly grateful" for this and for the support of the local committee, past and present.
"I would like to thank every member of the committee for your selfless efforts and the compassion you have shown towards those who are blind or have low vision," he said.
"The work that you do, and the support that you give, has a real and positive impact on the daily lives of so many people. So on their behalf I would like to thank you.
"They may not know you by name but they know you by your compassion, generosity and the difference to the quality of their lives you have made."
Mr Longhurst revealed that in the Cooma-Monaro region, there were 50 people over a three-year period who received blindness and low vision services.
Of these, 30 were aged over 80, five were under 12, 20 were using library services, and 15 were using low vision services.
In relation to the elderly, Mr Longhurst said a lack of access to vision loss services could have significant consequences. These could include admission to nursing homes three years earlier, risks of falls increasing by a factor of two, risk of depression increasing by a factor of three, risk of hip fractures increasing by four to eight times, and people were twice as likely to use health services.
"Whether people are born blind, have an hereditary or degenerative eye condition or are experiencing sight loss due to old age, Vision Australia provides the training, advice and support to help them participate in every part of life they choose," Mr Longhurst said.