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Vision impairment

Sight loss is caused by a variety of different conditions, or may be caused by infection or trauma. Some of the more common conditions are Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Retinitis Pigmentosa. It may be present at birth or childhood or maybe acquired later in life. Sight loss affects individuals in a variety of ways; you may be struggling to cope emotionally and with many aspects of your daily life including getting out and about safely, accessing information, cooking, cleaning and employment. The additional difficulties you experience daily may lead to increased frustration, isolation and depression.

Where to get help?

If you have concerns about your sight an eye examination with an optometrist (optician) is essential to ensure your eyes are healthy. It is advisable, even if you do not experience any problems, to have an eye check every 2 years. In some circumstances you may need a test more frequently and your optometrist will advise you if this is the case.

Where you already have a diagnosed sight loss and your sight is worsening either contact your ophthalmology department, if you are still seeing a consultant ophthalmologist or visit your GP for a re- referral.

If you suffer sudden sight loss, visual disturbance, distortion or injury to the eye go to the Accident and Emergency Unit of your local hospital.

The Sensory Impairment Service provides free rehabilitation training, helping you learn/relearn and manage everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning; learning skills to get around with greater safety and independence; learn skills if you are a new parent and generally helping you manage your daily life with greater independence. If you have a diagnosed sight loss and need support coping, Specialist workers from the Sensory Impairment Service will work with you to identify suitable advice, information, communication methods, voluntary services, equipment communication methods including using a computer, apps for phones and support that will promote your independence and wellbeing. They may provide additional equipment on long term loan or advise you on equipment you can purchase. 

The Access Centre

Worcestershire County Council, Adult Services, Access Service PO Box 585, Worcester WR4 4AD
Tel: 01905 768053 Fax:01905768056 
Text/sms 07939572850 (Deaf/ Hard of Hearing only)
Email: socialcare@worcestershire.gov.uk

The Sensory Impairment service direct

Duty Worker available on Monday to Thursday 1pm-5pm. Friday 1pm – 4:30 pm
Tel: 01905 765707 Text/SMS 07947486043 (Deaf/ Hard of Hearing only)
Email: sensoryimpairmenteam@worcestershire.gov.uk

Registration

When your consultant ophthalmologist decides your sight meets the requirement for registration either as sight impaired or severely sight impaired they may issue a certificate of visual impairment (CVI). A copy will be sent to yourselves and to the Sensory Impairment Service where a worker will complete registration with you to reflect your visual impairment, helpful/essential in accessing some additional benefits.

Low vision aids

You may be able to access a low vision assessment and obtain on long term loan magnifiers and additional lighting to help with many tasks, either by asking your ophthalmologist for a referral to the hospital low vision service, or by contacting the local voluntary organisations Sight Concern Worcestershire (opens in a new window) and Redditch Association for the Blind (opens in a new window). If you are unable to access these services a worker from the Sensory Impairment Service can provide a low vision assessment and advise you on a suitable magnifier for you to purchase.

Useful links

GOV.UK - Access to Work (opens in a new window) - Access to Work is a Government organisation offering an assessment to obtain advice and sometimes funding that will enable you to access additional support or specialist equipment to support your employment. 

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) (opens in a new window) - RNIB raises awareness of sight problems, and how to prevent sight loss, and they campaign for better services and a more inclusive society