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RNIB’s flagship Sight Loss Advice Service was key source for people in the UK during 2021

The sight loss advice service run by The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has received hundreds of thousands of calls this year, helping blind and partially sighted people across the UK during what has been a challenging year for many people.

Supporting the 2,190,000 people in the UK who are living with sight loss, statistics reveal there has been a staggering 210,275 calls to the Helpline and Advice Line, across the UK from January to November 2021.

Benefit rules, technology, and eye health were the top three reasons why people spoke to the advice line. Calls regarding emotional support also featured in the top ten reasons for people aged 16 to 64; in comparison to calls concerning technology ranking the top spot for people aged 65 to 74.

When diagnosed with an eye condition or experiencing a sudden change in vision, having someone you can turn to for support and advice can make a huge difference. RNIB is raising awareness of its 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.

Lyndsey Warren, Head of Telephone Advice, said: “Living with sight loss can have a huge impact on your life and we believe everyone should have access to emotional and practical support.

“Our Sight Loss Advisers are a listening ear and a helping hand – no matter how big or small the issue might be.

“We are here to encourage and support people living with sight loss to regain their confidence and hope for the future. For anyone in the UK who would like to speak to an adviser, please get in touch.”

Donald Mac Fadyen, 68, who is registered Severely Sight Impaired (SSI), hasn’t been able to see his 96-year-old mother in four years due to travelling costs being too expensive.

Donald said: “With my mother living twenty-two miles away, taxi costs are unaffordable. I started to feel very isolated, so I decided to seek advice from RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service.

“The advisers have been incredibly supportive and helped find a solution for me to be able to visit my mother. Providing COVID-19 restrictions don’t change, I’ll now be able to see her during the Christmas holidays. It’s the best present I could’ve asked for as my mother is my closest relative.”