If you've been told you have an eye condition that could lead or has led to sight loss, this can be difficult to come to terms with or understand.
Everyone reacts differently to their diagnosis. Some feel shock, anger, fear, sadness, loss or a combination of these feelings. You may worry how you will cope or feel upset about the changes you are facing.
Some people will want to get practical things sorted before they can think about how they feel, whilst others will not be able to make use of practical support until they have begun to deal with their feelings. Some people will want to tackle both together.
You should be given the opportunity by your eye clinic to understand your condition and how it may affect you, or be directed to further sources of help and support, such as a voluntary local society for people with sight loss.
If you have recently been diagnosed with an eye condition and feel in need of either emotional or practical support, you can contact RNIB. Specialist advisors will be happy to talk through your condition and send free detailed information to help you understand it better. Whether your condition is one of the most common or something rarer, RNIB is there to help.
Many people find counselling helpful. Having the opportunity to talk things over with a skilled listener can help you understand your feelings and think about ways of coping with the changes in your life. Speaking to someone who is outside of your usual circle of family and friends can make it easier to share difficult thoughts. Counselling is not direct advice, but helps you explore your situation and figure out for yourself the right course of action for you. Whether you are looking for sessions on a one-to-one basis, paired or group basis, face-to-face, on the telephone or online, there are many options available from medical, charitable and private organisations.
Local societies for people with sight loss and national charities, such as RNIB or Action for Blind People, can also put you in touch with people who have been through their diagnosis, living full and independent lives. You can learn what they do to cope or just use the opportunity to chat and build new friendships.
Alongside dealing with the emotional impact of having an eye condition, it is important to consider the practical side of coping with your condition, and take appropriate steps to get through day-to-day life. There is a great deal of advice, help and support available that can help you keep your quality of life as high as possible.
Your ophthalmologist will advise you on what degree of sight loss you can expect with your condition, and how you can make the most of your remaining sight. There are many methods and tools available to help make things easier for you to see.
Registering your sight loss with your local council can make it easier to get practical support from your social services department. It can also be a 'passport' to getting concessions and benefits, such as travel, parking and TV licence concessions.
RNIB Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice and products you need from RNIB and Action for Blind People to remain independent. We'll put you in touch with the people, services and organisations there to help, both locally and nationally, including voluntary groups and support from social services. Call us on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].