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RNIB highlights importance of emotional support as number of calls set to triple

The sight loss advice line run by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is set to see a 240 per cent increase in calls about emotional support from 2016 to 2019.

Statistics show that calls focused on emotional support are set to triple, increasing from 2,021 calls in 2016 to a projected 7,000 calls in 2019. Questions around emotional support are one of the top three reasons why people spoke to the advice line in 2018 and is expected to remain in the top three for 2019.

When diagnosed with an eye condition or experiencing a sudden change in vision, having someone you can trust to turn to for support and advice can make a huge difference. RNIB is raising awareness of its flagship Sight Loss Advice Service, which provides practical and emotional support over the phone, face-to-face at many hospital eye clinics, or through online information.

David Clarke, RNIB Director of Services, said: “Living with sight loss can have a massive impact on your life and we believe everyone should have access to emotional support. We know that when people get the support they need, they can rebuild their resilience and a sense of optimism about the future.

“It’s not just the big, life-changing aspects that people need support with. Sometimes it’s the smaller, everyday things that stop people in their tracks or prevent them from living the life they want to.

“These questions or fears can chip away at your emotional wellbeing if you don’t tackle them and RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service can help with this.

“Our Sight Loss Advisers and Eye Clinic Liaison Officers receive specialist training on living with sight loss, and many have personal experience of sight loss themselves.”

Sassy Wyatt from London, who has uveitis iritis, said: “The most important piece of advice I can give anyone going through sight loss is to ask for help and support. RNIB has an amazing counselling service which I used, and it helped me process all the stress and negative emotions surrounding what I felt was loss of control and my life ultimately changing forever.

“Talking with a professional, who also happens to be visually impaired, gave me a real sense of appreciation and understanding. They too knew the struggles and frustrations of living with sight loss and we came up with ideas and solutions to tackle the physical and mental barriers that were put in my way.”

RNIB’s Helpline received almost 250,000 calls during 2018. Calls to RNIB range from topics such emotional support to employment, benefits, education, legal rights and technology.

Get in touch with on 0303 123 9999 or visit our living with sight loss page for more information.

Notes to editors

All media enquiries to RNIB’s PR team on [email protected] or 020 7391 2223. For urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call 07968 482812.

Calls to the RNIB advice line about emotional support

2016: 2,021

2017: 917

2018: 4,881

2019: 2,302 [January to April]

About RNIB

We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.

RNIB. See differently.

Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit