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Supporting a loved one with an eye condition

If someone you care about is worried about their eyes, waiting for an appointment with an eye specialist or has found out they have an eye condition, there’s lots of ways you can support them. Here are some ideas to help you offer your support.

Be there to listen

Talking with a loved one about an eye condition can be hard. If they’re waiting to see an eye specialist, or have recently been diagnosed, they might be feeling uncertain or that things are still very new. You might not know what to say, be worried about saying the wrong thing, or have questions.

Here are some tips to help you talk about it:

  • Wait until your loved one is ready to talk. Let them know you’re there for them if they’d like to talk and be mindful that they might not want to talk about it. They may just need more time to think about things by themselves. If you want to talk but your loved one doesn’t, respect their wishes. You can always try another time.
  • Be an active listener. Active listening is when you make a conscious effort to be a better listener. It can help make difficult or emotional conversations easier. You can be an active listener by concentrating on what your loved one has to say, focusing on their words and feelings, and remembering what they say. It’s also important that you don’t interrupt them or tell them what to do.

Learn about their eye condition

If your loved one has been diagnosed with an eye condition, you may have questions or be unsure what to say. Taking the time to learn about and understand their eye condition can help you talk with them, understand, and offer your support.

Use our eye conditions A-Z to look up any eye condition and get easy to understand advice you can refer to.

Look after yourself

You need to take care of yourself before you can support someone else. Taking time for yourself is good for your mental health and wellbeing, and help you be there for your loved ones.

It can be hard to make time for yourself, especially if you live with the person you’re supporting or spend a lot of time with them. Try to build it into your daily routine. It could be something as simple as going for a walk, taking a relaxing bath, or reading a chapter of a book. It’s your chance to rest, recharge and feel more like yourself again.

If you’re caring for or supporting someone with sight loss, we’re here to help you too. Whether you’d like advice, information or emotional support, you don’t have to find the answers alone. Contact our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected] to talk to an adviser.

Things you can do to help

Whether you’re supporting your partner, a family member, or a friend, we’ve prepared some quick ways you can be there for them.

Your support will depend on what your loved one wants, and what you’re able to give practically and emotionally.

Some of the ways you can help include:

  • Check in with them regularly. Making the time to call, visit, or connect with them could make a huge difference to their mental health and wellbeing. Talking can also help you understand what kind of support they’d like from you, if any.
  • Find out about local support your loved one might benefit from. You can use RNIB’s Sightline Directory to find support, charities, and communities near you. All you need to do is put in your postcode for a list of what’s available in your area.
  • Ask if there are any small changes at home which could help and offer your support to make changes if they would like. For example, you could help to tidy up clutter, labelling clothes or other household items, or setting up accessible technology.
  • Encourage them to be independent, and to keep doing the things they want and need to do. This is different for everyone but can include things like staying independent around the house, keeping up with hobbies, shopping, and staying in work. For more information on staying independent click here to visit our independent living page.