Britain is failing those who lose their sight, says RNIB


The lack of advice and support for people who lose their sight is “a national disgrace” according to a disability charity.

RNIB said that of the 100 people a day who begin to lose their sight, only eight will be offered counselling.

Thousands of people in the UK are left to cope alone with their sight loss, according to the charity.

A new RNIB report, published at the launch of its Lost and Found campaign, says many of those who experience sight loss are left “isolated and depressed, with no idea of where to find help”.

The report calls for: high-quality advice, information and support; counselling and emotional support available to everyone who loses their sight; and patient information in eye clinics, GP surgeries and hospitals to be provided quickly and in an accessible format.

The charity says people who lose their sight “should be offered expert help that enables them to get out independently and gain the confidence and skills to do everyday tasks, such as shopping, controlling money and using public transport”.

Fazilet Hadi, RNIB group director inclusive society, said: “There is clearly a systemic failure in the UK to provide vital support for people when they lose their sight.

“It’s left to organisations like RNIB to plug this gap and at the moment we can only help one in three people facing this enormous life change.

“The lack of support, information and advice for people losing their sight is a national disgrace.”

The report also calls for improved awareness of the access to work scheme and more government-funded services to support people to stay in work when they lose their sight.

And it says public authorities must do more to tackle discrimination and promote positive attitudes towards disabled people.

17 September 2009