Title: Understanding the needs of blind and partially sighted people: their experiences, perspectives, and expectations.

Author: SSMR at the University of Surrey, Publisher: SSMR, on behalf of RNIB, Year of publication: 2009.


The overall aims of the research were:    

  • to gain an understanding of the experiences, needs and expectations of blind and partially sighted people   
  • to explore ways in which they can be supported to lead independent and fulfilling lives; and to investigate how needs change over time. This report presents a summary of information collected through in-depth interviews with people who are blind and partially sighted. Recommendations are also included.

Key findings

The report presents a wide range of experiences in the participants' own words. A overview of some of the themes explored includes:    

  • Key life changes, especially the loss of independence.    
  • Support received by participants, as reported.    
  • Employment (challenges in obtaining work and receiving adequate support within work).    
  • Emotional support.    
  • Information needs (what information, where to obtain it, provision in suitable formats).    
  • Transport (public services, cost, environment).    
  • Education (mainstream, specialist, and further education institutions).    
  • Enablement (making the most of residual sight and encouraging independence).

Additional information