Staying in work

If you have recently experienced a change in your sight, a change in your working environment or a change of job you may need help and support to stay in work. This section gives an overview of the support and services that can help you.

It is common for people who are going through changes at work or who are not getting the support they need to feel anxious and unsure of what to do. When you are in this situation it is important to get further advice. There are a range of products and services that can help you do your job to the best of your ability. Please see our further support and useful contacts for staying in work page. In addition to the advice found in this section, we also produce a more detailed factsheet covering staying in work which can be found below:

Access to Work

Access to Work (AtW) can help fund extra costs in work that result from your sight problem. This funding can take the form of providing technology, work place adjustments, covering the costs of employing support workers, travel to work or training. The level of Access to Work funding is decided through an assessment that takes place in your workplace. This assessment takes into account your sight problem, your working environment and the job tasks that you perform.

For more details please see the Access to Work section.

Access technology

There is a wide range of access technology products available on the market to help you in your job. For example, it is possible to get software that magnifies a portion of a monitor, or a video magnifier can help you to see documents more clearly. The type of technology products that you need will depend on your specific eye condition and the nature of your job. Access technology can be funded through the Access to Work scheme.

For more information we refer you to the access technology section. You might also like to visit the RNIB shop where you'll find an Assistive Technology section.

Low-tech solutions

It is not possible to use access technology to solve every problem you might encounter. For example, many photocopiers use a touch screen display to select copying options. In this situation it is possible to use a 'low tech' solution to the problem, so it may be possible to get a tactile overlay for the screen or various functions could be programmed into the copier for you to easily select via the keypad.

The working environment

There are a number of adaptations that can be made to the working environment to help you in your job. For example, if you find conditions too bright or too dark then adjustments can usually be made to the lighting levels. It may be possible to fit guide rails or tactile flooring to help you get around safely and confidently. All these adaptations can be funded through the Access to Work scheme.

Support workers

Despite the developments in technology, there may be aspects of your job that you cannot do because of your sight problem. In this instance you may consider using a support worker to help with these tasks.

For more information we refer you to the support worker section, where you will find information on the types of tasks that support workers can help with and an overview of the different ways that they can be employed.

Travel to work and travel in work

If you are experiencing sight loss it is possible that you are no longer able to drive. If this is the case then travel to work or travel in work may be an issue, particularly if public transport is not available. It may be possible to get support through the Access to Work scheme to help meet the extra costs of travelling by taxi. Access to Work can also fund route learning and mobility training, if it is going to help you to retain your job, or if it is training you'll need to take up the job.

Equality Act

The Equality Act says that employers have a legal duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled people. Reasonable adjustments may include:

  • Providing a blind or partially sighted person with a reader or adapted computer with large character, braille display or speech output
  • Providing time off when an employee develops a sight problem for rehabilitation/assessment
  • Reallocating some minor duties to another colleague.

For more details please see the Disclosure and the Equality Act 2010 section.

We're here to help

Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.

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