Blindness is no barrier to leading a happy life

12 February 2015

Blind Veterans UK’s Chief Executive, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin, discusses the  general public’s attitude to people with sight loss. 

How do the general public perceive blind people? This is what we wanted to find out when Blind Veterans UK launched our attitude to blindness study.
Overall the picture is positive, and revealed that 65 per cent of the general public said if they lost their sight, it would not mean that their “lives were as good as over”. 
Furthermore, 60 per cent of those polled would not see blindness as a barrier to being able to lead a happy life, and a massive 81 per cent disagreed that blind and partially sighted people could not start or continue training for a new career.
However, almost half of respondents thought that if they lost their sight they would not be able to take part in sports.
These largely positive results show that people’s attitudes to blindness have changed since the charity was founded 100 years ago.
Clearly, this is attributable to the high quality services that are being delivered by sight loss organisations across the sector, that help improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people every day.  
As we celebrate our centenary, it is inspiring to know that Blind Veterans UK has helped thousands of veterans to lead independent lives and achieve inspirational things. 
Veterans including Commander Iain Upton, who has started up his own public speaking business after receiving training and emotional support from the charity.
Since losing his sight, Jamie Cuthbertson, a former Captain injured whilst serving with the Royal Engineers, has also completed some of the world’s toughest endurance and sporting events, including the 151-mile long Marathon des Sables and the Arctic Circle Marathon with the help of the charity.
Our veterans, like Iain and Jamie, are proof that blind people can do a job, take part in sports and do many more challenges just as well as a sighted person – if not better!
However, as we enter our next century of service, we know that that there is still a lot more to be done, and want to ensure that every blind veteran in the UK has the support they need to realise their ambitions, and discover a life beyond sight loss.

Further information 

Blind Veterans UK provides vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to vision impaired veterans to help them go on to lead full, independent lives.