Coping with sight loss

Sight is the sense people fear losing the most. Some people will lose their sight slowly while for others it can be sudden. Whatever the situation: help, support and advice are at hand.

There are many charities and support groups who may not fund research but are dedicated to providing information and support to people with specific eye conditions. Search the RNIB Sightline Directory to find the right one.

Emotional support

Support Groups
There are charities and support groups dedicated to supporting people with specific eye conditions and diseases. They provide opportunities for people to share information and experiences. Find a group by searching the internet or through the RNIB Sightline Directory.

Telephone Support
Losing sight can be a difficult and upsetting experience. Emotional support is available for individuals and their families. The RNIB runs a telephone helpline. Call 0303 123 9999.

Counselling
Action for Blind People offers a counselling service for adults with sight loss, parents of children with sight loss and carers and close friends. This is available in Bristol, Cheshire, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Warrington and Wiltshire.

Staying independent

Money Advice
Many people worry that losing their sight will mean losing their independence. Action for Blind People provides information on a range of independent living issues for people with sight loss. These include managing money, employment, accessing benefits, dealing with housing issues, travel and shopping.

At Home
RNIB offers training on getting out and about and advice on driving with sight problems.

At Work
Losing sight does not have to mean leaving work. People with sight loss are legally protected from discrimination in the workplace – more information about rights in employment. Government schemes can help employers make adaptations to enable employees with sight loss to do their job. Employment advice from Action for Blind People covers employment, self-employment and skills development.

Accessible technology

Get a technology assessment
There is a range of equipment people can use to make the most of their remaining sight. These devices make things bigger, brighter and bolder. There are watches with large numbers on them, telephones with big buttons, magnifiers to help people see the dial on the cooker and special lighting for reading. The RNIB can arrange for an assessment.

Action for Blind People also assess an individual’s needs and help them access technology for home and work.

Entertainment
Most broadcasters provide audio description to many of their television programmes.

Insight Radio is a radio station for blind and partially sighted people. It broadcasts all day every day online at www.insightradio.co.uk and can also be accessed via the television on Sky Channel 0188 or Freesat Channel 777.

The RNIB also offer a talking books service.