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Coping with sight problems

If you are told your sight problem is long lasting, there are many emotions that you might experience, such as that similar to grief, but it's important to know you are not alone and there are support teams that can help.

If you'd like to talk to someone about how you are feeling, or would like to find out where you can get further support, you can contact our Information and Support team.

Registering as sight impaired or severely sight impaired?

If your vision problem has reached a certain level, you may wish to be registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired. Your ophthalmologist will do some tests. These will show whether you fall into either of these two categories. They can then complete a certificate of vision impairment for you, which is sent to your local services department who will add you to the register.

A team will visit you at home to help you decide what help you require. With the certificate, you could be entitled to discounts for public transport, TV licences, and tax and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Book a telephone appointment at our benefits clinic for more information about the types of benefits you may be entitled to.

Long-term care of vision

It's important to continue having regular eye exams, even if you have been told your vision can't be improved, to check your eyes for any changes. There are still many tools and strategies that can help you adjust to your new life.

Your eye test will be free if you're registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired or meet another NHS category. Additionally, any UK resident can get a free NHS eye examination in Scotland.

If you find it difficult to get to your optician, you may be able to have a home visit. To find out more, speak to your local optician or call 111, a free NHS urgent medical concern helpline. (In some areas of Wales, the 111 number is not available, so please use 0845 46 47 instead. In Northern Ireland, please use to find your local optician.

Can I still be independent?

To help you move from place to place, a member of your eye health team may advise using a long white cane, a guide dog, or teach you how to scan the area around you (called orientation and mobility training).

Some simple changes around the house can involve using contrast to help you tell the difference between similar objects.

A few changes could include:

  • plain white plates on black placemats
  • extra lighting on work areas, such as kitchen work tops
  • tactile buttons for the hot and cold taps
  • a liquid level indicator which will beep when a cup is full
  • large button phone
  • large print books
  • e-readers.

For more ideas, there is a brochure of a range of products available at

Reading with vision problems can cause you to feel tired. You can consider audio books, newspapers and magazines. There are also many other talking devices, such as watches, timers and software, that can read information from your computer screen.

Some TVs have audio description (AD), which gives a running commentary on many programmes. There are also different settings for the contrast and brightness on TVs, which can be changed to suit your needs.

One of the difficulties of sight loss is that there's often no outward sign of any disability. This can cause confusion and difficulties in a public/social environment. The Partially Sighted Society has a range of Symbols of Visual Disability items in the forms of badges, arm-bands and lanyards that can help with this.

Can I work with a vision problem?

Your employer, by law, needs to make basic changes to accommodate your vision problem, such as changing your equipment and allowing you to return to work in stages, including flexible hours or part-time working.

To help with your vision problem, some computer programs can read Microsoft programs out loud. Others can scan written print straight to your computer as larger text, so it's easier to read.

Other changes may need to be made for you to continue working. Visit the Access to Work scheme,, which can offer you methods and possible funding for equipment. It can also offer training to help you carry on working and help with your journey to work, such as help towards paying for taxis to work. An officer in your workplace will carry out an assessment to decide what changes are needed. We recommend you access this scheme as soon as possible as, occasionally, the equipment can take months to arrive.

View our employment resources for more information about staying in, returning to our looking for work.:

  • whether and how to tell your employer about your diagnosis
  • tools to help your employer or colleagues understand the possible effects of a brain tumour
  • your rights within the workplace
  • suggestions for 'reasonable adjustments' that your employer can make to support you
  • a list of specialist organisations that can help you
  • There is also a resource specifically for employers.

How do I get help studying with vision problems?

If your child is struggling at school, The Partially Sighted Society design and print bold lined stationery and other specialist equipment for students with a vision problem. A free child-centred V.I. Assessments are available by request at

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) is a scheme which should assess your needs and provide suitable equipment and training to help you begin or continue your education. Your university or college will have a disability advisor who could signpost you to accessing help and support.

If you're looking to attend a university, some useful questions to ask could be:

  • what public transport is available?
  • what is the campus layout?
  • is there any specialist equipment available?
  • how accessible is the accommodation?

There are various schools and colleges specifically designed for those who are sight impaired or severely sight impaired:

  • RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning, Coventry
  • RNIB Sunshine House School, Northwood
  • The RNIB College, Loughborough
  • The Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford
  • Queen Alexandra College, Birmingham
  • WESC Foundation, Exeter.

Driving with a brain tumour

If you've been diagnosed with a brain tumour, the law states that you need to tell the DVLA or the DVA as soon as possible. Find out more.

Your general practitioner (GP), neurologist (brain specialist) or ophthalmologist (eye specialist) will check the impact of the brain tumour and should be able to confirm if you can still drive.

Leisure activities

Audio descriptions of museum exhibitions, theatre productions and films are available in different areas of the country. will provide information on art events around the country tailored for people with vision problems.

Many festivals allow free entry to vision guides who accompany people with vision problems.

There are also allocated seats in some football grounds for those with a vision problem. Audio commentary headsets are available for a range of sports, including football and rugby.

You can also still participate in sports you already enjoy, or learn a new sport. has information on a variety of sports, locations and competitions where they'll help you adapt to play the sport of your choice.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:

Support and Information Services

0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)

Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00

You can also join our active online community - Join our online support groups.