What is a Visual impairment
People with visual impairments are sometimes known as blind or partially sighted. The more modern term is sight impaired or severely sight impaired. Sight loss can be caused by a variety of conditions such as –
- macular degeneration
- visual cortex disorder
- genetic defects or an injury
Many people who live with sight impairment experience different levels of sight loss. Some people are only able to determine lights or shapes, while others may experience blurred vision. Another effect of sight impairment is having no sight in the centre of the eye or no side vision.
Some people may have some useful sight but may find it difficult at night. It is uncommon for someone to have no vision at all even if the person is registered blind.
Eye strain and headaches are also a common side effect of living with sight impairment.
First Steps to getting Sight Loss
Getting an eye test
It is estimated that 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided. One simple thing you can do is get an eye test. In some cases your sight could be improved simply by different glasses or cataract surgery.
If you feel you are having problems with your sight you should go to your GP or optician as soon as possible.You may be referred to an eye clinic or ophthalmologist (a specialist in eyes). They examine your eyes and determine if there are any possible treatments for your condition.
Registering as disabled
If you have sight loss, you may be able to register as disabled. You will need to see an ophthalmologist for an assessment and they will then issue you with a Certificate of Vision Impairment.
Living with sight impairment can make life more complex, however, you can get support from various national and local organisations. You could also get equipment to meet your visual needs.
Hull Sensory team
The Hull Sensory team can arrange for you to have a disability assessment.
Your assessment helps the Sensory team understand how they can help you live safely and independently in your own home.
This can include advice and support on –
- equipment and adaptations
- alternative techniques to carrying out daily living tasks
- registering as disabled
- long cane and orientation
- mobility training for people with sight impairments
You can contact the Sensory support team via –
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone - 01482 318 700
- text service - 07810 503 530
- type talk service / Mincom - 18001 01482 318 700
Formally known as Herib, Sight Support has been supporting local people with sight loss since 1864.
For over 150 years, Sight Support has been helping people across Hull and East Yorkshire with visual impairments to live full, active and happy lives.
Alternatively, you can contact them via -
- email - email@example.com
- telephone - 01482 342 297
in person -
Equipment and adaptations
Magnifying aids, low vision aids, spectacle mounted aids
The Eye Hospital supplies magnifiers, low vision aids and spectacle mounted aids
You can contact them at -
Low Vision Aids Clinic
telephone: 01482 816 681
You may find it easier to have documents in alterative formats.
Alternative formats can include -
- audio versions such as tape or CD
- large print
Documents such as bills, bank statements and letters from GP’s as well as general information can be made available to you in these formats.
You should contact the organisation that has produced the information and request for the document to be provided in your preferred format.
If you are blind (severely sight impaired) and can provide the appropriate evidence, you are eligible to apply for a 50 per cent concession.
Audio description is commentary that describes body language, expressions and movements, making the programme clear through sound. It sets the scene so you can clearly track what is taking place.
This service is available on -
- sports events
There are many ways that technology can help you stay connected and independent if you have sight loss. Computers screens can be adapted to make them easier to read or to talk aloud; books are available in different formats such as large print, braille and audio; television programmes can be audio-described so that you hear what is happening on screen; and talking phones or phones with large buttons may be easier to use if you can’t see well.
You can find out about how technology can help you and how to adapt existing technology to make it more accessible, on via –
Organisations that offer support
Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RINIB) is the largest charity for people with sight loss. You can find lots of useful information around sight loss, along with practical support.
Alternatively – you can contact them via –
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone helpline - 0303 123 9999
Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provides guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services to meet the needs of blind and sight impaired people.
Alternatively you can contact them via –
- email - email@example.com
- telephone - 01189 835 555
The Macular Disease Society
The Macular Disease Society is a charity for people with macular disease, offering support, advice and information.
Alternatively you can contact their Hull group by telephone on 01482 656 714 or 01430 422 905