Employing a blind or partially sighted person

Woman using screen magnification at workIf you are an employer, we can help you retain a current employee who is losing their sight, and we can help you to take on someone who is blind or partially sighted.

Blind or partially sighted people should not be excluded from employment - nor should sight loss equal job loss.

Advances in technology mean that blind and partially sighted people can now overcome many of the barriers to work that they faced in the past, and government schemes like Access to Work mean that many of the costs can be met.

Guide to employing someone with sight loss

We understand that, as a business, you may have questions about taking on someone with sight loss, or about an existing employee who is losing their sight.

Our guide to employing someone with sight loss has been designed to address those questions and to set out the benefits of employing a blind or partially sighted person. It covers everything you need to know about employing someone with sight loss, from the recruitment and interview process, to making sure an employee has the right equipment in place to be successful in their role and progress their career.

A blind or partially sighted person can be as much of an asset to your organisation as any other employee. There are simple steps you can take to ensure you achieve success as an employer.

Working with blind and partially sighted colleagues: An employer’s guide 

This guide is essential reading for line managers, supervisors, or those supporting blind and partially sighted colleagues in the workplace. It has been developed in partnership with a group of blind and partially sighted people, who have a keen interest in improving the employment situation of people with sight loss. 

The employer's perspective: a case study

Afshan Nawaz heads up a small London law firm employing six people. The firm recently took on Joanne who is registered blind. She is completely blind in her right eye and has limited vision in her left eye.

Afshan, Joanne's employer, says:

"Joanne's ambition and work ethic is something to be admired. I think it's all too easy for employers to focus on what a person with a disability can't do, rather than all the things people like Joanne can do."

"We haven't incurred any additional costs due to employing Joanne and the Access to Work scheme has been really efficient; recommending and funding different pieces of equipment that will help Joanne at work.

"Joanne's sight loss hasn't stopped her from any of her day-to-day duties, including interviewing new clients, making applications to the Home Office and issuing judicial review applications in the high court.

"Joanne has been able to complete all her work with just a few extra pieces of equipment, including a larger computer screen with the resolution set to maximum and a portable magnifier for reading small print documents."

The application and interview process

Our application and interview process section offers practical advice on making sure that your recruitment process is fair.

How technology helps

Our IT and accessibility section tells you everything you need to understand about how blind and partially sighted people use computers.

Work-based assessments

Our work-based assessment section provides information on specialist assessments that recommend the equipment, software, and adjustments that enable an employee to be successful in their role.

Access to Work

The Government's Access to Work scheme can help you to meet any costs arising from employing a blind or partially sighted person.

The law

Find out about your legal duties as an employer under the Equality Act.

The business case for job retention

We believe that sight loss should not equal job loss, and strongly recommend that you make all efforts to retain a person who is losing their sight. Retaining an employee who is losing their sight means that your business will continue to benefit from the skills, knowledge, and relationships they have built up over time. Ensuring you retain a diversity of experience within your team can bring additional benefits to your business.

We've published a report called 'Vocational rehabilitation: the business case for retaining newly disabled staff and those with a long-term health condition'. The report explores the positive impact of job retention on both the employee and the employer.

Government information and advice

The Department of Work and Pensions had produced a summary of information for employers to help them recruit and support disabled people in work. It has links to other resources to enable employers to become more confident when attracting, recruiting and retaining disabled people.

Visit the DWP website to view the Employing disabled people and people with health conditions guidance

Inclusive apprenticeships

The Skills Funding Agency have developed a toolkit to help employers develop a more inclusive and accessible Apprenticeship offer. It provides practical information, sources of support and inspirational case studies of employers who have benefited from hiring and supporting disabled apprentices.

Further information is available from the Employer Toolkit website.

If you know a blind or partially sighted young person interested in taking up an apprenticeship, RNIB can offer them useful advice, information and support. More details at our Starting work section.


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Knowledge and research hub

We are a leading source of information on sight loss and the issues affecting blind and partially sighted people. Access our statistics, evidence and reports in our research hub.

Visit the research hub