Max Bergman has never let his low vision stand in his way.
The Vision Australia client is a former Paralympian, holds two PhDs and runs a camel farm, using their milk to create a range of body and skin care products, including body lotion, lip balm and shampoo.
At eight, Max was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes the degeneration of cells in a person’s retina, the part of the eye that responds to light.
Instead of letting his condition get the better of him, he said that it has helped him to accomplish the level of success he has achieved.
“I like what I do and I think a lot of things would have been different if I hadn’t had to work harder to perform to the standard of a sighted person,” Max said.
“Because I can’t see properly, maybe my movement or posture keeps the camels calm.
“Possibly, if I was sighted and able to move more rapidly that would freak them out.”
Max has a small amount of peripheral vision which he uses to move around his farm but he uses different techniques to navigate like putting markers on farm gates and using trees as landmarks.
Max also relies on his Seeing Eye Dog Forest to help him move around the property.
“Forest helps me get from point A to point B,” he said.
“He goes everywhere with me! Having a Seeing Eye Dog has completely changed the way I navigate my surroundings.”
Max began running the farm, in 2015 and he now has 60 camels.
What first started as a hobby turned into a skin care company, DromeDairy Body + Skin, when Max discovered his hands become really soft after milking the camels.
Camel milk contains alpha hydroxy acid, a group of organic acids that remove dead skin and reveal young skin.
The milk is also high in vitamins and has both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it particularly good for treating skin irritations, including eczema.
Max has also been able to provide much needed materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone was running out of everything in late March this year, including packaging for hand sanitiser.
“We had leftover bottles from our skin and hair care range so we decided to make hand sanitiser. We donated some bottles to our daughter’s primary school and are still selling the product online and to other stores.”
Max is passionate about creating environmentally friendly products and making sure his animals are treated well. He’s also a big advocate of increasing camel farming across Australia as they naturally cope well with our hot, dry climate.
While camel farming might not be everyone’s passion, Max said nobody should let blindness or low vision stop them from following theirs.
“If you work hard at what you want, you can overcome all of the challenges of having low vision,” he said.
Interested in support to help you make the most of your remaining vision? Call Vision Australia today 1300 84 74 66 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.