F A Q’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Terminology

How do I become registered as partially sighted?

Ask your GP or optician to refer you to a consultant ophthalmologist. If your sight cannot be improved medically, and depending on your degree of sight loss, the consultant will tell you if you are eligible for registration as ‘sight impaired/partially sighted’ or as ‘severely sight impaired/blind’.

A CVI (certificate of visual impairment) form needs to be completed by your ophthalmologist, and you will be registered as either sight impaired or severely sight impaired. A copy of the form will then be sent to you and your GP, and your case will be allocated to a Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired.

What is acuity?

Visual acuity (VA) is acuteness or clearness of vision.

What is meant by visual field?

The visual field refers to the total area in which objects can be seen in the side (peripheral) vision while you focus your eyes on a central point.

I have been told I have the following eye condition……………How can I find out more about it?

  1. RNIB have information on eye conditions from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
  2. Moorfields Eye Hospital London is one of the world’s largest centers for eye care and research.
  3. NHS Direct is the website to the NHS Direct health advice service, with information and advice about various eye conditions.

Support

My sight is deteriorating and I am having difficulties coping at work. What should I do?

The Government’s Access to Work scheme can provide you with practical support, including access technology equipment, support workers and fares to work.

For support and advice. You can also contact your local Job Centre Plus office for details, or visit the Director website.

Hopefully you will be able to continue with your job. There may need to be some adjustment and this is where access for work can help.

Can I get a discount on public transport?

Depending on your level of sight loss and registration you may be eligible to receive a concessional bus pass. This would allow you to travel on any national bus after 9.30am for free.

You can apply for one from your local county hub. The Worcestershire central hub is location at the Worcester library the hive.

If you are a rail traveller you may be eligible to apply for a disabled rail card. This allows you to purchase ay train ticket at a reduced fee. The card entitled yourself and the person you are travelling with a third off your rail fare. For example you and your friend are travelling from Worcester station to Birmingham. Usual fare for the two of you is £20 return. With the disabled rail card your fare would cost you £13.32 which gives you a saving of £6.68.

You can purchase a year or three year rail card.

Do I need to inform the DVLA about my sight loss?

If you have been diagnosed with a visual impairment or you have been experiencing eye sight problems you do have a legal obligation to inform the DVLA. Without informing the DVLA you could make your car insurance invalid or you could cause an accident to yourself or others.

My relative is blind and hasn’t been on holiday for several years. Are there any holidays or hotels especially for visually impaired people?

Action for Blind People has hotels in Weston super Mare, Teignmouthand Windermere. Find out more about holidays at Vision Hotels.

What happens after you’re registered Social services will contact you to discuss carrying out a needs assessment, also known as a Community Care Assessment. The aim of this assessment is for social services to find out what help and advice you need to remain independent. For example, this could include help with everyday tasks such as cleaning and cooking, keeping in touch with friends and family, or with transport.
Am I entitled to any benefits?

You may be entitled to benefits.

Some of these may include:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Personal independence allowance
  • Housing benefit
  • Employment support allowance
  • Pension tax credit

The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) offers a telephone benefits checker. They may be able to inform you of other benefits.

Contact RNIB on 0303 123 9999 who can advise you further.

 

Daily activities

How do I make a hot drink?

There are methods you can adopt to make a hot drink. A qualified rehabilitation officer can demonstrate safe methods of pouring. They can recommend some equipment thgtcan help you adapt and learn new kitchen skills.

How do I put toothpaste on a tooth brush?

When you lose sight central vision in particular this once simple task becomes extremely problematic.

Some people with sight loss squeeze the tooth paste on to their finger then put it on their brush or straight on to their teeth then brush. By using the sense of touch this reduces the risk of dropping the tooth paste.

How do I tell the time?

There are a number of ways visually impaired people can tell the time. Some people have large face watches or clocks with dark bold hand and numbers, whilst others choose to have a talking watch. By pressing a button on the side of the watch the watch speaks in a clear voice the time.

A number of companies sell talking /larger face clocks and watches in a variety of colours, designs, sizes and styles.

What hobbies can I do with sight loss?

Most people with a visual impairment have hobbies. Although they sometimes have adapted their hobby they can still have the same interests, friends and leisure activities.

For example:

Example 1.

John aged 70years old is a rail enthusiast. His hobbies were building model trains and railways, going to railway talks and volunteering on the seven valley railway as a guard.

John was diagnosed with macular degeneration two years ago.

John is now a member of another local railway group where he and his wife go on annual holidays. He attends a weekly meeting where he sits at the front of the meeting/presentation. By sitting close to the screen/speaker and having his hand-outs adapted he is able to take part and participate fully.

John has his railway modeller magazine on audio and with his grandson is building larger gauge trains.

John is still a volunteer at the seven valley railway. He is no longer able to be a guard however he works as a tour guide in the engine house museum which he prefers than being a guard as he is always warm and dry and has the opportunity to talk to more people.

In summary John still has the same interests and hobbies. He is doing more than he previously was.

Example 2

Gemma is a 24 year old who had recently moved to Worcester with her visually impaired partner. Gemma has had sight loss since birth.

Since Gemma moved to Worcester she has joined the local gym where she attends three times a week. Gemma had a support worker to support her at the gym until she felt comfortable and independent enough to attend alone.

Gemma has also started attending college part time and has joined a reading group where she has met new friends. The reading group meet at a central venue which Gemma knows well. Gemma has become friends with some of the girls outside the group and regular goes out with them for social events.

With help and support the majority of hobbies are accessible.

I can’t read or write so who can I go to to support me with completing benefits forms

There are a number of organisation how can advise and support you with completing benefits forms.

  • Age UK if you are over the age of 60 years old.
  • Citizen’s advice bureau (CAB)
  • Disability Information Advice Line (DIAL)
  • Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)