How I see it … and the Adventures of Guide Dog Sienna … a mission we chose to accept

For the last two weeks Sienna and I have been on a mission. That is to find a particular pair of specialised mountaineering sunglasses to replace the ones that are missing.

First I will explain the background and reason for these particular sunglasses and then move on to the adventure Sienna and I have been having to acquire these.

As my eyesight has worsened I have become more and more susceptible to glare. To make the most of my remaining vision reducing glare is imperative as it increases visual fatigue.

One thing I was not expecting as my vision worsened was the level of visual fatigue just doing everyday tasks would cause. As a result I ration what I use my vision for to be able to continue working and being a productive member of society. For example this may be spreading reading out over a work week and ensuring breaks. Not doing hobbies that require vision on the weekend to ensure I have the energy to function for the work week.

Managing glare is a big part of managing visual fatigue. For this reason I have asked for an office away from windows and filtered the lights in my office and have been known to occasionally wear my sunglasses inside when glare is a problem.

Finding the best sunglasses to manage glare is important. They need to cut out enough light to be comfortable (decrease pain which brightness causes) and yet allow the right amount of light in so that I can use the vision I have. It is a fine line and because of this I have tried many sunglass brands.

There are two brands which I find the best, Maui Jim and Julbo. Both are expensive (these days over $200 NZD) and not always available in New Zealand. Maui Jim sunglasses have served me well, however, lately I have found the glare around the edge of any glasses (wrap around included) problematic, along with this, I need a particular dark shade of brown lens to see the best.

Julbo offer side and top shields as well as lenses that are designed for mountaineering which have worked well for me. The glasses that are missing are the original Julbo Explorer 2.0 spectron 4 brown.

There are two shops in New Zealand that stock these to try on (others are online only and have very limited stock). Living Simply in Newmarket and Shoe Science in Albany (both in Auckland where I live).

Last weekend Sienna and I braved Newmarket. It is the first time Sienna and I have been to Newmarket without friends in toe to help and on a Saturday no less. Having a friend there gives Sienna someone to follow which makes navigating crowds easier for us both. To get from Hillcrest to Newmarket took us on two busses and a train (along with several hours in transit). The photo below is of Sienna looking rather unimpressed as I had asked her to sit (which she did) and get under the seat (which she didn’t do) instead she insisted on sitting glaring at me with her tail in the aisle.

This was the first time Sienna and I had travelled on a train together and she did a fantastic job.

At Living Simply I was able to find the same model of sunglasses. However, when I tried these I found that they had changed the frame size. While the originals were large frames and well ventilated they were a pre 2022 version that fitted me well. The new version has a slightly different frame and is just too big.

There were two other options. However, both were designed for men and were also big which meant a lot of light could get around the edges.

This weekend I was still on a mission to locate said sunglasses. I phoned the Albany Shoe Science who said they had some of that brand for me to try on in women’s sizes. This meant a trip on three busses with a walk to get there.

The above photo is of Sienna watching the bus approach (which is just outside of the frame) and is ready to get up and board the bus.

After three buses and a short walk we arrived at the shop in Albany only to find that they had one pair of child glasses and some empty boxes of that brand and would no longer be stocking these. This was rather disappointing so Sienna and I checked out all of the other shops which may have had similar sunglasses in Albany no avail.

I took some video of us on the buses and walking around the shops which i will include below. However, it is worth noting that I have edited the video to remove all of the people in some parts and only show their legs in another part to maintain privacy. There is a voiceover recorded on the video.

Our journey on three busses and the walk this weekend. Please note I have edited the video to cut other people out to ensure their privacy.

So our mission to find particular sunglasses was a flop. However, we have managed unknown and crowded areas well. We were both incredibly tired after being out for the majority of the day. Sienna ate and then curled up in her blanket fort with her favourite stuffed today (picture below).

Sienna sleeping in her blanket fort with her favourite stuffed toy after a long day in a crowded shopping centre.

Sunday has been quiet for us and after the long day yesterday we had coffee with a friend. Between the thunderstorms Sienna and I spent some quality time at the beach where she was able to sniff and run out of harness (aka be a dog).

Sienna sniffing around at the beach this afternoon.

3 thoughts on “How I see it … and the Adventures of Guide Dog Sienna … a mission we chose to accept

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  1. I love reading your blog posts! I am a guide dog puppy raiser in Auckland and it’s wonderful to find out more about what life is like for a guide dog. We very much hope our puppy will make it!

  2. My vision is pretty good, but my brain isn’t! If I’m overloaded then too much light drives me bonkers…I’m glad I have blinds in my office I can close. I have been known to sit in their with the lights off and sunglasses on if I’m really bad. I hope you find the glasses your looking for soon.

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