Take action and next steps
There is a range of practical help and emotional support available for you if you are living with sight loss.
For practical advice on living and working with sight loss, information on national and local services, and advice on getting help from your local council, contact our Helpline. You can call us on 0303 123 9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Value of rehabilitation
One of the most important things you should do is contact your local social services department. Most social services departments will have a specialist team called a “Sensory Impairment Team”. This team can provide free rehabilitation training, or “rehab”, helping you relearn everyday tasks and getting around.
You can find the contact details of your local social services team using our Sightline Directory or by calling our Helpline (0303 123 9999).
Read more about the help that social services can give you to live independently:
- Starting out - Help from social services (Word, 75 KB)
- Starting out - Help from social services (PDF, 2.23 MB)
Registering your sight loss
Your local social services team can also help you register your sight loss. Registering your sight loss with your local authority can make it easier to claim different welfare benefits and other financial and travel concessions, such as a free bus pass or a reduced TV licence fee.
Read more about the benefits and concessions available to people with sight loss:
- Starting out – Benefits, concessions and registration (Word, 116KB)
- Starting out – Benefits, concessions and registration (PDF, 1.2MB)
Low vision clinics
You should ask your local social services department, GP, optician or eye specialist to refer you to a low vision clinic for a low vision assessment. A low vision specialist will help you make the most of your sight by letting you try a range of low vision aids, like magnifiers, lighting and eye shields. These low vision aids can help you with everyday tasks like reading or help reduce glare when you are outside.
Read more about what happens during a low vision assessment and how you can make the most of your remaining sight:
- Starting out - Making the most of your sight (PDF, 1357 KB)
- Starting out - Making the most of your sight (Word, 58 KB)
As well as the low vision aids you might be given during your low vision assessment, there are lots of other useful products and technology available to help make everyday tasks easier and maintain your independence. RNIB offers lots of these products through our online shop and Helpline, including talking kitchen equipment, labelling equipment, electronic magnifiers and accessible mobile phones.
You can also find useful products available to buy at RNIB and Action for Blind People's resource centres, or your local society’s resource centre if they have one. You can find your local society for people with sight loss using our Sightline Directory.
Support groups and programmes
Talking to and meeting people who have had similar experiences to you can be really helpful. If you're looking for support, here are a few avenues to explore:
Hospital eye clinics
Some of these provide information and advice services run by voluntary groups.
Groups for particular eye conditions
There are support groups for people with a particular eye condition, such as age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma and many more. We can help you find out if there's an organisation covering your condition: call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999, email email@example.com or search the Sightline Directory.
Local voluntary organisations
These may offer information and befriending services, equipment to help you in your daily life that you can try or buy, as well as the chance to socialise and learn new skills. Find a local society near you in the Sightline Directory.
RNIB sight loss support programmes
Our sight loss support programmes give you the chance to meet people in a similar situation, and discuss solutions to emotional and practical problems.
Support for families
Call Look UK (The National Federation of Families with Visually Impaired Children) on 0121 428 5038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could also contact the National Blind Children's Society by calling 01278 764770 or emailing email@example.com. RNIB Cymru provides this service in Wales. Call 02920 828500.
Talking and socialising
For chat and support our telebefriending service can help.
Whether you want to know more about your eye condition, what services are available near you, how to continue your favourite hobbies and pastimes, or your rights as a blind or partially sighted person, we offer lots of advice and support through our website, Helpline and free leaflets and factsheets.
Call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 to speak to one of our advisors for more information on how we can help and the resources available.
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.Contact Us