In the UK, there are almost 2 million people living with sight loss. Of these, around 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted.
- If your child is blind or partially sighted, they may be referred to a specialist low-vision clinic. Here, staff can help you understand the condition and come to terms with the diagnosis. They can also advise about practical things, such as lighting and vision aids.
- 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.
- There are a number of national charities designed to support people with sight loss, which are listed below. Local organisations can also be very helpful search online at Visionary to find your nearest ones.
How to Manage Visual Impairments:
- Some changes around the house can make life a lot easier for people with visual impairments. These include big-button telephones, specially adapted computers and bright lighting.
- The way your house is painted can also make it easier for them to find their 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.
- Problems with reading may be addressed by the use of a magnifying device or large print publications, which are available at many libraries.
- If your child is unable to read at all they could sign up to the National Talking Newspapers and Magazines scheme, which can provide audio versions of more than 230 titles online or on a CD or the RNIB Talking Books Service. You can also install screen-reading software on your computer that will read out emails, documents and text on the internet.
- 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.
- Often those who have had a problem from a young age chose 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.
- There are various options allowing those with visual impairments to get around independently including long canes, guide-dogs and GPS navigation.