Disabilities and sensory loss

Visual impairment

BSL Support

This page tells you about visual impairment and what help is available and how to get it.

What is a visual impairment?

Visual impairment is a term used to cover a range of sight problems. It is a significant loss of sight which cannot be corrected by conventional means.

For some people, sight loss can make daily living activities difficult, but there are many services to help people with a visual impairment.

How it can affect you

Common struggles for people with a visual impairement can be:

  • Feeling stressed about travelling out into the community
  • Having difficulties crossing the road or using public transport
  • Difficulties with getting around the home and doing daily activities like cooking or making a cup of tea
  • Accessing information to make decisions that are right for you.

These difficulties can have significant consequences, such as loss of independence, social isolation, boredom, stress, depression or physical injuries.

Who can help?

Contact your GP or Optometrist if you think you are experiencing issues with your sight. They can help rule out any undiagnosed medical conditions. If someone has a significant eye condition,  they can attend an ophthalmology clinic. If your situation cannot be fully resolved by medical intervention, other help may be available.

Enabled Living works on behalf of Newham Council and can provide support to manage the effects and impact of a visual impairment. It is a legal requirement that local authorities maintain a register of people with a visual impairment. The Sensory Support Team at Enabled Living maintains the register on behalf of the local authority.

  1. A Consultant Ophthalmologist will decide if someone is eligible to be registered as visually impaired based on visual acuity and field of view.
  2. Registration is voluntary, so with your agreement they will then complete the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI).
  3. The eye clinic will ask you to sign the CVI form. This is to show that you understand and give your consent for a copy to be sent to us and your GP.
  4. You will also receive a copy of your CVI

There are two categories of registration:

  • Severely Sight Impaired (Blind)
  • Sight Impaired (Partially Sighted).

What help can you get?

After they receive the CVI, the Sensory Support Team at Enabled Living will contact you. They will ask you if you need an assessment and tell you about the services and support that you can receive, including:

  • Information to help you to adjust to your new situation
  • Signposting you to advice on rights, welfare benefits and employment
  • Advice on communication equipment such as large button telephones
  • The opportunity to try innovative equipment
  • Advice and training on all aspects of independent living
  • Help with basic or completely independent mobility - long cane training / learning to travel with confidence
  • Advice on safety within the home and equipment to reduce risk.

They also have strong links with specialist organisations who we can refer customers on to for additional support.