Title: My Voice 2015: The views and experiences of blind and partially sighted people in the UK
Authors: John Slade and Rose Edwards; Publisher: RNIB; Published: 2015
 

Background

This is the first set of publications from RNIB’s My Voice project. The aim of My Voice is to better understand the circumstances, views and experiences of registered blind and partially sighted people. My Voice 2015 provides a much needed update on the realities of life as a blind or partially sighted person in the UK today. Our findings were based on telephone interviews with over 1,200 participants from all parts of the UK. My Voice 2015 was funded and delivered by RNIB. NatCen Social Research conducted the telephone interviews. 
 

Key findings

The nature of losing sight

For many people, losing sight is not a one-off event. People lose sight gradually and experience a number of deteriorations in what they can see. This means that people may need support to learn and relearn how to adapt to sight loss as their sight deteriorates, and this may be a considerable time after certification / registration.
 

Facing sight loss alone

Most people don’t get any emotional support to help them adjust to losing sight and only a small proportion of people receive the practical support they need.
 

Fall in employment rates

The proportion of blind and partially sighted people in employment has fallen from 33 per cent in 2008 to 27 per cent in 2015.
 

Isolation

Four in every ten blind and partially sighted people feel cut off from people and things around them. Low incomes, inaccessible information, difficulties in getting around, digital exclusion, all contribute to feelings of isolation.
 

Severity of sight loss

People with the most severe sight loss have the worst experience. They are rarely able to choose when they go out, need more support with reading and around the home, have limited choice of activities, are much less likely to be in employment and rarely feel free to decide.
 

Interactive tool

This interactive tool allows users to access some of the My Voice data.