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Useful Links – Sight Loss

In the UK, more than 2 million people are living with sight loss. Of these, around 340,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted.

Being told you have a visual impairment that can’t be treated can be difficult to come to terms with.

Some people go through a process similar to bereavement, where they experience a range of emotions including shock, anger, and denial, before eventually coming to accept their condition.

Specialist referral

If you’re blind or partially sighted, you may be referred to a specialist low-vision clinic, which is often located within a hospital. Staff at the clinic can help you understand your condition and come to terms with your diagnosis.

They can also advise you about practical things, such as lighting and vision aids, and let you know about further sources of help and support.

Ask your local hospital if they have an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), whose role involves providing support to people with vision loss in eye clinics.

Low vision assessment

A Low Vision Assessment Service offers a wide range of equipment including handheld magnifiers in a variety of shapes and handles (including those with in-built illumination) and stand magnifiers. They can also establish which low vision aids would be most useful including large button telephones, talking watches and liquid level indicators to help increase independence in the home.

You can find a list of practices providing low vision services in Wales. Search your area by typing in the postcode at www.eyecare.wales.nhs.uk/page/68381

In other parts of the UK services are fragmented. Contact your local sight loss charity or local optical committee to find out who provides this within your area?

Sensory Impairment Team (Adult Social Services)

A Rehabilitation Worker works with people with visual impairments in their community to increase their independence by learning new skills and ways of doing tasks with reduced vision. They offer a variety of services including orientation and mobility training, independent living skills, cooking skills, low vision therapy, home adaptations and lighting in the home. They are usually based within local authority adult social services/sensory impairment teams or within local sight loss charities.

Use this link for more information on the Rehabilitation role… https://www.rwpn.org.uk/resources/Documents/What%20do%20Rehab%20workers%20do_flyer.pdf

Read a day in the life of Rehabilitation Worker article here… https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2014/may/30/visual-impairment-rehabilitation-officer-simon-labbett

Registering as blind or partially sighted

If your vision has deteriorated to a certain level, you may choose to register as visually impaired. Depending on the severity of your vision loss you’ll either be registered as sight impaired (previously “partially sighted”) or severely sight impaired (previously “blind”).

Your eye specialist (ophthalmologist) will measure your ability to see detail at a distance (visual acuity) and how much you can see from the side of your eye when looking straight ahead (your field of vision).

These measurements will help your ophthalmologist determine whether you’re eligible to be certified as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. If you are, they will complete an official certificate with the results of your eye examination.

In England and Wales this certificate is called the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI), in Scotland it’s called the CVI (Scotland) form, and in Northern Ireland it’s called an A655.

Your ophthalmologist will send a copy of the certificate to you, a copy to your GP and a copy to your local social services department. Upon receiving the certificate, your local social services team will contact you to ask whether you want to be added to its register of visually impaired people. If you say “yes” then you become registered.

After you’re registered, social services will contact you again to arrange for an assessment to be carried out. The aim is to assess your needs and find out what help you require to remain independent, such as help with cleaning and cooking, or help with mobility and transport.

Registering as visually impaired isn’t compulsory, but it can help you to get a range of benefits, including:

Find out more at:

Changes to your home

Most visually impaired people can continue to live at home. However, you’ll probably need to make some changes to your home, particularly if you live on your own.

Below is a list of some important pieces of equipment you may find useful.

  • Big-button telephone – both landline and mobile phones are available from the RNIB online shop.
  • Computer, smartphone or tablet – the internet can provide a real sense of connection to friends and family as well as other people with a visual impairment. It’s also a practical way of finding out information and obtaining goods and services. Big-button keyboards, screen display software and text readers are available from the RNIB.
  • Community alarm – this small, wearable device has an alarm button which, if pressed, sends an alarm signal to a response centre, which will alert a nominated friend or carer. Your local authority should be able to provide you with further information.
  • Bright lighting – bright light bulbs and adjustable lights are essential for your home, particularly in the kitchen and the stairs (areas where you’re most likely to have an accident). Fluorescent bulbs are recommended because they produce the most light and tend to be cheaper in the long term than conventional bulbs. Lighting in and around the home: A guide to better lighting for people with visual impairment by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, contains more information on the importance of lighting.

The way your house is painted can also make it easier to find your way around. Using a two-tone contrast approach, such as black and white, can make it easier to tell the difference between nearby objects, such as a door and its handle or the stairs and its handrail.

Read more from the RNIB about adapting your home

Better Lighting in your Home

A guide for people with sight loss to understand the best lighting levels in their homes. http://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/project/lighting-around-home-guide-better-lighting-people-sight-loss/

Thomas Pocklington Trust – Designing a home for someone with sight loss

Here’s a best practice guide when designing a new home. http://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/project/a-thomas-pocklington-best-practice-guide-for-housing-design/

Technology

Technology to help you live well and safely with sight loss is developing all the time. You can read:

IT Support at home

Even for those people that have grown up with computers, it is extremely hard to keep up to date with the constant advances in technology. If you are not experienced with using computers and find the idea of being reliant on technology daunting then you would benefit from IT Support at home. Having a visual impairment can be challenging but there is a lot of technology available to support you. But it can be difficult to do so if you have poor IT skills.

AbilityNet is a charity that has a team of volunteers who will come to your home and help you learn about technology and how it can help you. Every volunteer is disclosure-checked and can help with all sorts of IT (information technology) challenges, from setting up new equipment, fixing technical issues, showing you how to stay connected to family, using online services and much more. To access this support, click here

Making your computer or phone easier to see

Technology is continually evolving and improving. One of the benefits of this is that companies are recognising the need for inclusivity. Therefore, a lot of the computer and phone manufacturers are creating accessibility features to help people with disabilities interact with their devices more easily.

Most computers and smartphones now have a range of features that can make it easier for people with sight loss to use their phones.

My Computer, My Way

My Computer, My Way is a fantastic website that will help you make your device easier to see. If you click on the website, it will automatically recognise what device you are using and then show you the accessibility features for that device. For example, if you access the My Computer, My Way website from an iPhone it will show you the features you can change on your iPhone to make it easier to see.

Reading and writing

There are several options available if you’re having problems reading standard text in books, newspapers and magazines.

One of the simplest options is to use a magnifying device that can make print appear bigger to help you read. These can be obtained from a number of places including hospital low-vision services, optometrists, local voluntary organisations, and the RNIB.

The RNIB also has a collection of large-print publications you can borrow, as do most libraries.

You could also use an e-reader to help you read. E-readers are handheld devices that allow you to download books and subscribe to newspapers and magazines on the internet. You can choose a setting that allows you to display text at a larger size Some Kindle readers now offer text-to-speech.

The RNIB has more information on text-to-speech in eBooks

If you’re unable to read at all you could listen to audio recordings. You can sign up to the:

  • RNIB’s Newsagent scheme, which provides more than 200 magazine and newspaper titles in different formats, such as online or on CD.
  • RNIB Talking Books Service, where you can download audio books to listen to on your smartphone, tablet or computer or on a device known as a DAISY player. You can also get books on CD or USB stick, delivered to your door.

Reading on the computer

There are a plethora of ways to access text to speech when using a computer, you can download software or you can make use of accessibility features offered by your computer.

Free text to speech options:

Internet options

Depending on your internet browser, it is possible to get information on the internet read out loud to you.

If you use internet explorer as your browser, you will need to use the Windows Narrator to read to you. To start or stop Narrator, press Windows logo key + Ctrl + Enter.

If you are using Google Chrome then you have a lot more options available to you.

For example:

 Speak It allows you to highlight text and then right-click and select “speak it” to have that information read to you.

Read Mode converts web pages into documents and removes distracting images and links so that you can focus on just reading the text. Making the website less visually overwhelming.

Reading Ruler helps those struggling with tracking text that they are reading  

Reading from Windows computers

Windows offers the narrator to read the information on the screen to you. This can be accessed via the accessibility window on your computer and you can use keyboard shortcuts to stop and start the computer.

More information on using Windows Narrator

Reading in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has now introduced a Read Aloud feature accessible to anyone. It will read the words out loud and offers a speed adjustment and a choice of voices.

More information on Read Aloud in Word

Reading from your Apple Computer

It is simple to listen to text on your computer using the inbuilt Mac accessibility features. Set up your own keyboard shortcut and the Mac will activate text to speech when you press this.

More information on text-to-speech for Mac here

The RNIB has more information about using screen-reading software

Paid for software

There is paid for software that can support you with accessing your computer and reading from the screen. You may be able to access this software for free if you apply for Access to Work.

Magnification/ScreenReader software: 

There are two main competitors in the visual impairment software market, Dolphin Supernova and ZoomText. Both of these softwares are designed specifically for visually impaired users and offer a lot more intuitive and a wider range of accessibility features than you get inbuilt with the operating system. With other screen magnifiers, the clarity of text is degraded in the magnified view. As a result, many fonts (text characters) are difficult to read, including small fonts, serif and italic fonts, and cursive fonts. Whereas these softwares have been designed to ensure text is clear regardless of the level of magnification.

Magnifier/Reader software enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, echoes your typing, and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages, and email. They will also allow you greater personalisation of the colours of the screen.

For people with complete vision loss, then JAWS is usually recommended. JAWS, Job Access With Speech, is the world’s most popular screen reader, developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC. You will be able to navigate the Internet, write a document, read an email and create presentations from your office, remote desktop, or from home. More information on JAWS here.

Writing on a computer

There are also voice recognition programmes where you speak into a microphone and the software translates what you say into writing. These programmes can also be used to issue commands, such as closing down the internet and moving from one website to another.

Dragon Professional is the most recognised speech-to-text software. It can help reduce the strain on the eyes as the computer can be controlled with your voice which reduces the need to strain the eyes. It allows you to open and close applications which helps reduce difficulties locating and tracking the mouse. Dictating your thoughts can also reduce issues with typing accuracy if you are struggling to see the keyboard.

Dragon Professional can be purchased privately or if you are working, you could access this software and other equipment by having an Access to Work assessment.

More information on Dragon Professional can be found here

Dragon is a Windows only software. Apple has discontinued this software and replaced it with the inbuilt Voice Control feature. Anyone with a MacBook can press the “FN” key twice and it will activate the dictation feature.

More information on Voice Control for Mac

Microsoft Dictate

Microsoft Word has also introduced a dictation feature allowing users to dictate into their word document.

More information on Dictation in Microsoft

Braille

Some people with severe sight loss, particularly those who’ve had the problem from a young age, choose to learn Braille. Braille is a writing system where raised dots are used as a substitute for written letters.

As well as Braille versions of books and magazines, you can buy Braille display units, which can be attached to computers that allow you to read the text displayed on a computer screen. Braille computer keyboards are also available.

The RNIB website has more information about reading and Braille

Travel

There are several different methods you can use to get around independently if you have a problem with your vision.

Long cane

You may find a long cane useful when travelling. These canes are usually foldable and can help you get around by detecting objects in your path. The cane will also make drivers and other pedestrians aware that you have sight loss. Your local adult social services team can provide an assessment and mobility training.

Guide dogs

Guide Dogs has been providing guide dogs for people with vision loss for many years. Guide dogs can help you get around and provide both a sense of independence and companionship.

If you apply for a guide dog, Guide Dogs provide all the essential equipment free of charge and can also offer financial assistance if needed for things like food or vet costs.

You don’t need to have lost all your sight to benefit from a guide dog and you don’t have to be officially registered as blind or partially sighted to apply for one.

Guide Dogs has more on applying for a guide dog

Guide Dogs also offer a number of other services for people with a visual impairment (even if you don’t have a guide dog), such as Help for children and families and mobility training.

The Guide Dogs’ Sighted guiding service aims to reduce the isolation that many people with sight loss experience, helping to rebuild their confidence and regain their independence.

Global positioning system (GPS)

A global positioning system (GPS) is a navigational aid that uses signals from satellites to tell you where you are and help plan your journeys.

GPS devices are available as standalone units that can be programmed using a Braille keyboard, which tell you your current location and give you directions to where you want to go.

If you have a smartphone, there are a number of GPS apps you can download.

The RNIB website has more information about using GPS

Driving

If you’re diagnosed with a condition that affects your vision, you have a legal obligation to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Failure to do so is a crime and can result in a fine of up to £1,000.

GOV.UK has more on driving with a disability or a health condition

If you’re registered as having a sight impairment, the DVLA will assume your driving licence is no longer valid and you’ll no longer be able to drive.

Exceptions are occasionally made for people with mild vision impairment. If you think this applies to you, then your doctor will need to fill in a DVLA medical information questionnaire.

You’re only legally allowed to drive if you can read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres (65 feet), and an eye test shows your visual acuity is at least 6/12. You’re allowed to wear glasses or contact lenses when reading the plate or letter chart.

There are also standards relating to your visual field and driving. If you have a condition that may reduce your visual field, the DVLA may ask you to complete a visual field test to demonstrate you’re safe to drive.

Employment

If you’re currently employed and have recently been diagnosed with a visual impairment, you should contact the GOV.UK: Access to Work scheme.

Access to Work is a scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that provides advice and support about what equipment and adjustments may be required to enable you to do your job.

They also offer a grant to contribute towards the costs of any equipment or training you may need, such as voice recognition software, a Braille keyboard and display unit and a printer that can convert text into Braille (Braille embossers).

Depending on the size of the company you work for, the grant can pay for 80% to 100% of costs, up to £10,000.

Find out more:

You don’t have to disclose that you have a visual impairment when applying for a job, but it’s usually recommended that you do.

If you feel you’ve been turned down for a job because of your disability, and you were capable of doing the job, you can make a complaint under the Equality Act 2010.

Regular sight tests

If you have vision loss, it’s still important to have regular sight tests so your optometrist (eye specialist) can check for further changes in your eyes and give you advice about how to make the best use of your vision.

Find an optician or more about NHS eyes services.

Visual impairment apps

There are a multitude of apps available to help you with vision loss. Here are a few of the most notable ones.

Seeing AI

(iOS only)

Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, it will describe nearby people, text and objects. It can:

  • Describe people’s faces and give you an estimate of age, gender and emotions.
  • Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
  • Describes photos on your phone
  • Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera
  • Scans barcodes

This app can help with things like reading menus, ingredients when shopping and also when reading your post etc.

Be My Eyes

(Android and iOS)

This is an app that connects you with volunteers when you need help with a task due to your vision loss. As a blind or low-vision person, whenever you need visual assistance, our volunteers are happy to help. Through the live video call, you and a volunteer can communicate directly and solve a problem. The volunteer will help guide which direction to point your camera, what to focus on or when to turn on your torch.

Note: this is also available on Android.  

LookOut
(Android only)

LookOut is a free app that uses your phone camera to help you see the world around you. It can read documents, letters, cards, menus and also describe images and recognise currency.

Big Digital Clock
(iOS and Android)

If you struggle to see the time on your smartphone then try installing a large clock that uses the whole screen. This means the time can be visible to you from further away.

More Apps
Check out more apps at https://www.everydaysight.com/best-apps-for-visually-impaired/

Sight Village

Each year, Sight Village is held in various locations across the UK. It is an unmissable event for people of all ages living with sight loss. It is an exhibition where people can find out about the latest technology, products and support services available including:

  • Audio equipment and services                     
  • Braille equipment and services
  • CCTV’s / Magnification
  • Computers
  • Daily living equipment
  • Education and training
  • Information and support services
  • Leisure services
  • Low vision aids
  • Mobility aids
  • Peripherals
  • Screen enlargers / readers

Exhibitors include charities, commercial companies and voluntary organisations from across the UK, Europe and the world.

More information on Sight Village here

Counselling

Experiencing sight loss can be a daunting and emotional experience. If your sight loss has not been something you have had since birth then the change in your way of life can feel overwhelming. Coming to terms with the barriers you may now experience can be difficult and counselling would give you the chance to talk about this with someone that understands.

The RNIB offers free telephone or online counselling which you can access by clicking here.

The Macular Society also offers a counselling service to people who have been diagnosed with a macular disease. You can register here.

National Organisations Supporting People with Sight Loss

Graphic showing various guiding techniques

Blind Mums Connect

Tel: 01905 886 252  

Email: info@blindmumsconnect.org.uk

Blind Mums Connect was set up to virtually link visually impaired mums from all over the UK, to share information and support one another.

Blind Veterans UK

Main telephone: 0800 389 7979     

London: 020 7723 5021             Brighton: 01273 307 811  

Llandudno: 01492 868 700       Sheffield: 0114 267 2550

www.blindveterans.org.uk

Blind Veterans help blind ex-Service men and women lead independent and fulfilling lives by supporting them with in-depth practical expertise, experience and a full range of services.

They give veterans much-needed support to adjust to sight loss, overcome the challenges of blindness and enjoy daily life. The charity offers rehabilitation, emotional support, technology and employment.

British Blind Sport

Tel: 01926 424247

Email: info@britishblindsport.org.uk

https://britishblindsport.org.uk/

A visible difference through sport. The work of the charity enables blind and partially sighted people to have the same opportunities as sighted people to access and enjoy sport and recreational activities in the UK.

Calibre Audio Library

Tel: 01296 432 339

Email: membershipservices@calibre.org.uk

www.calibre.org.uk

Calibre Audio Library is a national charity that brings the pleasure of reading to people who have sight problems.

Deafblind UK

Tel: 0800 132 320

www.deafblind.org.uk

Providing advice, information and advocacy for people who are deaf blind.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

Tel: 0118 983 5555 

Email: guidedogs@guidedogs.org.uk

www.guidedogs.org.uk

Supporting over 5,000 Guide Dog owners in the UK, as well as offering a range of services and activities for children & young people and providing advice to parents and teachers. They also offer a habilitation service which supports young people from 0-25.

Look UK

Tel: 01432 376 314  

Email: info@look-uk.org

www.look-uk.org

LOOK-UK supports young people and families living with a vision impairment

Register of Eye Clinic Liaison Officers/Sight Loss Advisors

www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Register_of_ECLOs.docx

This register provides a list of Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLO)/Sight Loss Advisors contact details in your area. Please note, not every area currently has an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer or a Sight Loss Advisor in post.

Royal National Institute of Blind People

Tel: 0303 123 9999 

Email: helpline@rnib.org.uk

www.rnib.org.uk

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the UK’s leading charity supporting blind and partially sighted people. They offer practical, emotional, employment, technology and welfare benefit support to those that need it, so they can continue living life to the full.

Royal Society for Blind Children

Tel: 020 3198 0210  

Email: connections@rsbc.org.uk

www.rsbc.org.uk

Royal Society for blind Children provide a range of services in London and across England and Wales for blind and partially sighted children and young people, their families, and the professionals who work alongside them.

SeeAbility

Tel: 01372 755 000

Email: enquiries@seeability.org

www.seeability.org

SeeAbility provides extraordinary support and champions better eye care for people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom have sight loss. They are a hub of information when it comes to disability and sight loss.

Sense

Tel: 0300 330 9256

Email: info@sense.org.uk

www.sense.org.uk

Providing advice, information, housing, education and advocacy for people who are deaf blind.

Sightline Vision (North West)

Tel: 0800 587 2252

Email: info@sightline.org.uk

www.sightline.org.uk

Sightline provides telephone support for people affected by sight loss. A free helpline is staffed (6-10pm) entirely by trained volunteers, who are affected by sight loss themselves. From August 2018, a new befriending service will call people affected by sight loss who are isolated. Sightline are funded to provide services throughout North West England, and access to our service may become restricted to those outside this area.

The Stroke Association

Tel: 0303 303 3100

Email: info@stroke.org.uk

www.stroke.org.uk

Their mission is to reduce the incident and impact of stroke by delivering education and other programs focused on the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

The Thomas Pocklington Trust

Tel: 020 8090 9264

Email: info@pocklington-trust.org.uk

www.pocklington-trust.org.uk

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) is a registered charity which offers people who are blind or partially sighted the support they require to lead an independent life. We are committed to increasing awareness and understanding of the needs of people with sight loss and to developing and implementing services which meet their needs.

Travel Eyes

Tel: 0113 834 6094

Email: info@traveleyes-international.com

https://www.traveleyes-international.com/

Traveleyes is a travel company with a difference. This dynamic specialist air tour operator provides holidays for both blind/visually impaired and sighted travellers who journey together to world holiday destinations in a spirit of mutual independence.

Visionary

Tel: 0300 330 9256

www.visionary.org.uk

The umbrella organisation for all local sight loss charities.

Visualise Training and Consultancy

Tel: 07472305268   

Email: info@visualisetrainingandconsultancy.co.uk

www.visualisetrainingandconsultancy.com

Ensuring people who lose their sight whilst in work remain and retain their employment by working with the employee and employer to carryout workplace adjustment assessments and staff visual impairment awareness training.

VICTA Children

Tel: 01908 240 831

Email: admin@victa.org.uk

www.victa.org.uk

Supporting children and young people who are blind or partially sighted and their families across the UK. If they are a parent of a blind or partially sighted child or young person or you patient has a visual impairment and under the age of 29 then VICTA can help with activities.

Support groups

If you’re blind or partially sighted, you may find it helpful to contact a support group for people with vision loss.

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

The RNIB is the UK’s leading charity for people with vision loss. The RNIB website offers useful information, such as coming to terms with sight loss.

The RNIB’s helpline is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm. The number is 0303 123 9999, with calls costing no more than a standard rate call to an 01 or 02 number. You can also email helpline staff (helpline@rnib.org.uk).

The RNIB’s website is specially designed for people with sight loss and provides a wide range of useful information and resources, including an online community and RNIB online shop.

Other national charities

Other national charities that specialise in vision loss and you may find useful include:

Local organisations

Sight Line Directory (UK Wide)

There are also many local voluntary organisations around the country that help and support people with vision problems. You can find local support organisations on the RNIB’s Sightline Directory.

This directory will give you the contact details of local organisations supporting people with sight loss in the UK. www.sightlinedirectory.org.uk

Wales Council of the Blind (Wales only)

This directory provides information and contact details of organisations supporting people with sight loss in Wales. www.wcb-ccd.org.uk/perspectif/index.php

Local sight loss charities

Local Sight Loss Charities provide advice, activities and support services to people with visual impairments. The types of service each provides will vary throughout the United Kingdom. It is important you establish what is available to your patients within your local vicinity. 

You can find your local sight loss charity by visiting

www.visionary.org.uk/charity-locator

Eye clinic Liaison Officers

ECLOs provide emotional/practical support, information and referrals to services that can enable and empower people with sight loss. ECLOs are usually based within eye clinics, however not every area currently has coverage. To find your local ECLO visit www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Register_of_ECLOs.docx

Condition Specific Charities

A diverse group of people with visual impairment

Aniridia Network UK

Tel: 07792 867 949

Email: info@aniridia.org.uk

www.aniridia.org.uk

A support group and charity concerned with the rare genetic condition aniridia – which causes a lack of irises in the eyes and poor vision from birth. The charity helps people with aniridia, their families, doctors and teachers.

Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Email: esmesumbrella@gmail.com

www.charlesbonnetsyndrome.uk

Esme’s Umbrella raises awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome and gives advice to patients and professionals.

Coates Disease – Violet’s Glow

www.violetsglow.co.uk

Violet’s Glow is an online support group for anyone affected by Coates disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Tel: 0345 123 2399

www.diabetes.org.uk

They offer advice and support, information on local support groups, an online shop, and insurance.

Keratoconus Group

Email: anne@keratoconus-group.org.uk

www.keratoconus-group.org.uk

An information portal for patients who have been diagnosed with keratoconus and a support group information.

Macular Society

Tel: 0300 3030 111   

Email: help@macularsociety.org

www.macularsociety.org

The Society provides support to eyecare professionals to enable them to help their patients. This is achieved through free, accessible patient information, online training (CET/CPD-accredited) and a Helpline, as well as a network of almost 400 local support groups. All our services are accessible through the free Macular Society app for Apple and Android.

Microphthalmia, Anophthalmia and Coloboma Support

Tel: 0800 169 8088 & 0800 644 6017   

Email: enquires@macs.org.uk

www.macs.org.uk

MACS supports children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. This year, 90 families in the UK will be told their babies have no eyes, small eyes, or a cleft in the eye. Many of them will have additional needs or other health challenges. Some will be told there’s no hope that their child will ever see. They may feel hopeless and alone – but they are not alone and there is hope.

The International Glaucoma Association

Tel: 01233 648 170

Email: info@iga.org.uk

www.glaucoma-association.com

The glaucoma association run a helpline, provide free glaucoma leaflets, set up patient support groups, provide a buddying scheme and fund professional research that helps with the detection, management and treatment of glaucoma. They also run glaucoma awareness campaigns and have a membership scheme, which helps people keep up to date about their condition and treatment. All their services are free, funded through their members’ generosity.

Nystagmus Network

Tel: 01427 718 093

Email: info@nystagmusnet.org

www.nystagmusnet.org

Anyone needing information or support from the Nystagmus Network can speak to someone on the phone throughout normal office hours. From Monday to Friday.

Laurence-Moon-Bardet-Biedl Society 

Tel: 07591 206680

Email: info@bbsuk.org.uk

www.lmbbs.org.uk

Bardet-Biedl syndrome is a disorder that affects many parts of the body. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary among affected individuals, even among members of the same family.

Vision loss is one of the major features of Bardet-Biedl syndrome. They provide information and support for patients, families and carers. Bardet-Biedl syndrome UK are the only registered charity supporting people with Bardet-Biedl syndrome

Retinitis Pigmentosa Fighting Blindness

Tel: 01280 821 334  

Email: Info@rpfightingblindness.org.uk

www.rpfightingblindness.org.uk

RP Fighting Blindness aspire to a world in which people with RP will have access to treatments and will not lose their sight. They offer emotional support, patient support groups and information days for professionals.

Uveitis

Tel: 0845 075 8114

Email: info@oliviasvision.org

www.oliviasvision.org

Olivia’s Vision was established in 2010 to provide information, support and advice for anyone affected by uveitis.

Professional Resources

Graphic showing a range of accessible options including large print, PC, tablet and Braille

Benefits of registering sight impaired or severely sight impaired

This outlines the variety of benefits available to people who are registered sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind)

https://www.rnib.org.uk/search/site/benefits%20of%20registration

Registering Sight Loss

This page describes the differences between certification and registration and what visual acuity level is eligible.

http://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/registering-your-sight-loss

An A – Z list of Eye Conditions

http://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/eye-conditions

Information and guidance for Young and Adult Carers

(England only)

Carers Trust helps young carers to cope with their caring role through specialised services across the UK.  Find your local services by typing in your postcode. https://carers.org/about-us/about-young-carers

Information and guidance for Young and Adult Carers Wales

Carers across Wales provide 96% of care and as our loved ones are living longer with illness or disability, more and more of us will be looking after them. https://www.carersuk.org/wales

NHS England Accessible information standard

The NHS England Accessible Standard ensures that all NHS providers are ensuring that all information/communications are accessible to patients who require alternative formats i.e. email appointment letters, large print letter, textphone etc.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/

Suppliers of Low Vision Aids and Daily Living Solutions*

Two graphics of woman looking at PC monitor. She's frustrated in left one as the text on the screen and keyboard are too small. On the right one, she's saying "Using assistive technology is perfect for my workplace" as she can now read the text and see the keyboard keys

Associated Optical

Tel: 01628 600 410

www.associatedoptical.com

Edward Marcus

Tel: 01226 764 082

www.edwardmarcus.co.uk

Enhanced Vision

Tel: 0115 944 2317

www.enhancedvision.co.uk

Optelec

Tel: 080 8090 8090

www.uk.optelec.com

Optima Low Vision

Tel: 01803 864 218

www.optimalowvision.co.uk

Orcam

Tel: 0800 358 5323

www.orcam.com

Pamtrad

Tel: 0115 981 6636

https://pamtrad.co.uk/

RNIB Shop

Tel: 0303 123 999

www.shop.rnib.org.uk

Sight and Sound Technology

Tel: 0160 479 8070

www.sightandsound.co.uk

Synapptic Ltd

Tel: 0191 909 7909

www.synapptic.com

Vision Aid Technology

Tel: 01775 711 977

www.visionaid.co.uk

Always ask your local sight loss charity for details of their resource centre

*We do not endorse any of the above suppliers

This resource pack was produced by Visualise Training and Consultancy, supported by Thomas Pocklington Trust.

For more information or guidance please contact:

Email: info@visualisetrainingandconsultancy.co.uk

Website: https://visualisetrainingandconsultancy.com

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