FAQ Categories: Support & Advice

How do I register as blind/partially sighted?

If you notice problems with your vision, visit an optician or GP for a check-up. They will decide whether it’s necessary to refer you to an eye clinic for an examination. At the eye clinic, an ophthalmologist will assess whether you are eligible for registration by measuring how far you can see (distance vision or visual acuity) and how much you can see from the side of your eye (field of vision). Based on these results, the ophthalmologist will determine whether you’re eligible to be certified. A Certificate of Vision Impairment gives the results of your eye examination as well as information about your circumstances and your preferred method of correspondence. It will also indicate whether you qualify as severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted). The ophthalmologist will send copies of the certificate to the social services department at your local council, who will then contact you to conduct a Community Care Assessment. This assessment determines what sort of tools and services you will need to remain independent. Find out more about registering as blind or partially sighted on the Action for Blind People...

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Why should I register as blind/partially sighted?

Registering as blind or partially sighted simply means recording your sight impairment with your local council. Registration is entirely voluntary, and you will not be denied help from social services if you decide not to, however there are significant advantages. Registered blind or partially sighted people have access to a wide range of benefits such as the Personal Independence Payment and Employment Support Allowance, as well as concessions for the NHS, council tax, television licenses and public transport. Your registration card can also prove your status as a blind or partially sighted person; particularly important for those who don’t use guide dogs or white canes but may require assistance when...

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Where can I find information about support services such as rehab teams and local support groups?

There are so many support groups working to support blind and partially sighted people at a local, regional and national level, it’s difficult to know where to look. The following organisations are a good starting off point: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK’s leading charity for people with sight loss. Its website is full of useful information on how to come to terms with sight loss and practical ways to live independently. The RNIB’s helpline is open Monday to Friday from 8.45am to 5.30pm. 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). Action for Blind People Action for Blind People is another national charity that provides blind and partially sighted people with practical and emotional advice and support.   The charity works in conjunction with RNIB to offer support and information about the day-to-day realities of life with a visual impairment, such as adjusting your home to make it easier to get around.   Other national charities The Macular Society – helpline: 0300 3030 111 International Glaucoma Association – helpline: 01233 64 8170 RP Fighting Blindness – helpline: 0845 123 2354 or email: helpline@rpfightblindness.org.uk Diabetes UK – 0345 123 2399 or email: info@diabetes.org.uk Blind Veterans UK – 020 7723 5021   Local organisations There are...

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Will I be eligible for any benefits?

Being diagnosed with sight loss does not automatically entitle you to welfare benefits, however registering as blind or partially sighted will ensure you have access to any payments for which you are deemed eligible. The Attendance Allowance, Disability Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are government benefits that help you meet the extra costs associated with sight loss and other disabilities. This includes any care you might require, or assistance to live independently. The difference between the payments is the age that you can claim them. The PIP is for people aged 16-64, DLA is for anybody under 16 and Attendance Allowance is for people aged 65 and over. Contact the welfare rights team in your local council area for help and advice on claiming benefits. You can also visit an advice center. The RNIB has also developed a benefits calculator specifically designed to help blind and partially sighted people, their carers and families find out what benefits they might be entitled...

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I’ve just been diagnosed with sight loss, where can I get advice?

The news that you have an irreversible vision impairment can be difficult to come to terms with. Some experts have likened initial reactions to bereavement, where people experience ‘stages’ of emotions like shock, anger, denial and, eventually, acceptance. For advice on coming to terms with your sight loss and to find out the next steps, visit RNIB’s online factsheets for the recently diagnosed....

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