First Geoff noticed the squares of his favourite crossword puzzle appearing to float across the page. Then one morning he drove confidently to a wedding, only to find he couldn't see clearly enough to drive back home safely that afternoon.
Usually positive and sociable, Geoff says he "cried for weeks" after receiving a diagnosis from his doctor. Cataracts and macular degeneration had blurred his sight and created a blind spot in the part of his vision used for detailed tasks like driving and reading. "It was sheer frustration," he remembers.
"I live on my own and I felt cut off from the world. I couldn't play bowls, golf or go to the pictures. Suddenly your social life is very restricted."
What preserved Geoff's independence was his own resourcefulness, with Vision Australia helping him find ways to help himself. After a specialist assessment at one of Vision Australia's low vision clinics, Geoff acquired a closed circuit TV magnifier which helps him read Lodge notices and newspapers.
He also listens to cassette tapes of his favourite mystery novels plus Time magazine and the Readers Digest, mailed to him regularly from Vision Australia's library.
I've been able to do things for myself, but Vision Australia provided me with the means to do it.
"Always on the lookout to improve things," the retired office manager also taught himself to enlarge the text on his computer. Now he downloads fact-sheets from the Vision Australia website, with handy tips on how to use lighting, magnification and contrast to enhance his remaining sight. He also checks out the latest talking books using the library's online catalogue.
"I've been able to do things for myself," he says, "but Vision Australia provided me with the means to do it. They've made life easier for me. And I've been very grateful for that."