Not all blind and partially sighted people “look blind” (wear dark glasses, use a cane or a guide dog), so be mindful that it may not always be obvious.
Sight loss: helping you to help others
Many people who want to offer help to a blind or partially sighted person feel worried about saying or doing the wrong thing.
It's perfectly normal to feel slightly apprehensive about helping a person with sight loss, it simply means that you want to be supportive and not get anything wrong.
However, sight loss doesn't need to cause any awkwardness; we are all people, we just see things differently.
Here are our top tips for how to help a blind or partially sighted person:
If you think that someone with sight loss needs help, just introduce yourself. A simple, “Hi I’m Steve, is there anything I can assist you with?” can go a long way.
If a blind person does need help, let them tell you what they need. Don’t assume they’re trying to cross the road when they’re actually wanting directions. Just ask.
Don’t be afraid of using visual language like “nice to see you”. Just relax and be yourself, you’ll feel awkward if you try to censor your language.
Try to limit communicating through gesture or body language. Saying “go over there” while pointing means very little to someone who can’t see where “there” is. To help a blind person, try and be more specific, for example “Your glass is directly in front of you”, or “The card machine is above your right hand”.
People with sight loss all see differently, so get to know the people you’re interacting with.
Some blind people might need help reading things, while others just want guiding. For those with very low vision, you may need to say when you’re leaving so they know you’ve not just gone quiet!
Remember, we’re all individuals.
More ways to help people with sight loss
Guiding someone with sight loss
Our guide offers practical advice and information that will help you feel confident about guiding people with sight loss.
Volunteer for us
Find out about the benefits of volunteering for RNIB.
We have a range of services that connect, empower and support people with sight loss. Raising awareness of these to someone with sight loss can help them access the support they need.
Support with technology
Our Technology for Life Resource Hub provides great guides, information and tips on getting confident with technology.
Be My Eyes
This app connects blind and partially sighted people with sighted volunteers through a live video call. Find out more on becoming a volunteer and spread the word about the service.
With your support we can help more blind and partially sighted people and face the future with confidence together. Take a look at our fundraising opportunities.