About Reading Sight

Welcome to the new look Reading Sight! We have added many new features to help people with sight loss, and those who support them, to enjoy reading in accessible formats.
One in eight people in the UK finds it difficult or impossible to access reading in alternative formats (large print, audio and braille).

Reading Sight promotes use of the collections of accessible material, enabling readers to:

  • find books in accessible formats
  • join libraries and participate in reading groups and activities
  • be inspired and motivated by other people with sight loss who continue to enjoy reading
  • contribute to the site (video, audio and text) and keep up-to-date with new developments.

Technology is providing us all with amazing new ways to access reading and information. Downloadable audio and eBooks give visually impaired people a wider choice than ever before.

Through Reading Sight we will promote these new ways of reading and point to places where you can get technical support to increase your confidence in these exciting developments.

Tell us about it

We welcome contributions to Reading Sight – personal stories of reading with sight loss, case studies from libraries and other services. We have worked with visually impaired people and the professionals who support them to create and develop Reading Sight. We welcome comments and suggestions about how we can continue to make the site even better in the future.

Development and supporters

Reading Sight is a partnership initiative led by Share the Vision and involving RNIB, the Society of Chief Librarians, Calibre Audio Library, ClearVision and National Talking Newspapers. The Ulverscroft Foundation generously supported the original site, launched in June 2009. RNIB provides the core support for Reading Sight and has led the development of the new look site and its launch in September 2011.

Understanding the issues

  • There are nearly 2 million people in this country with impaired vision.
  • More than 1 million have serious sight loss.
  • 66% of those eligible for registration as blind or partially sighted are not registered.
  • 1 in 12 people over 60 years of age and 1 in 5 people over 75 are registered.
  • At last census – marked increase in number of older people.
  • For the first time more over 65s than under 16s.
  • 75% of people who are registered as blind or partially sighted are unemployed.

What do we know about them?

  • Something over 90% of people registered as blind have some residual sight
  • Of the people who have significant sight loss, only a very tiny proportion (around 12,000) read braille
  • By far the majority rely on audio materials, reading machines, CCTV and large print
  • Majority of people with visual impairment in this country are 60 or over
  • A substantial minority are considerably younger
  • People who lose their sight later in life are less likely to become fluent braille readers than those who learn to read Braille as children
  • Newly visually impaired people have to adjust not only to the loss of their sight, but possibly also to the loss of many other things such as independence, status and their job
  • To then have to adjust to the loss or curtailment of their leisure activities, one of which may be reading, is an added blow