JUNE NEWSLETTER No. 337
Video games that are accessible for the visually impaired
In recent years, the gaming industry has made significant strides in promoting inclusivity and accessibility for players of all abilities. While video games have long been regarded as a visual medium, game developers and designers have worked to break barriers and create gaming experiences accommodating the visually impaired. In this link, there are a selection of top games specifically designed to cater to individuals with visual impairments’ unique needs and experiences. These games empower visually impaired players by providing them with inclusive gaming experiences.
New NHS measures to improve eye care and cut waiting times
The NHS is publishing new clinical guidance which could reduce waiting times for eye care services for patients in England.
As part of a wide-ranging list of evidence-based interventions designed to improve the quality of care, the guidance proposes patients get access to more sophisticated diagnostic imaging before they are referred to a consultant.
As well as reducing a patient’s anxiety while waiting for a hospital appointment, it will also ease pressure on ophthalmology services and free up vital clinical time by prioritising those who really need to be seen by a specialist.
Fad diets could cause eye health problems
Potential problems caused by 3 popular diets; Keto, Intermittent fasting and the Paleo diet are discussed.
The struggles blind people face to stay active
More than half of blind people engage in less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week, compared to 27% of the UK average. The research, from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and British Blind Sport, shows that almost half (48%) of blind people surveyed reported barriers to trying new sports and activities. Some of the issues include lack of assistance, difficulty with public transport, and the inaccessibility of some venues. Consequently, 53% of blind people engage in less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week, compared to 27% of the UK average.
Eyesight conditions that are eligible for PIP and Attendance Allowance
Currently, across the UK, there are about 2m people living with some form of sight loss condition or degenerative eye condition. If you have an eye condition such as cataract, macula degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa. Retina and optic nerve diseases or diabetic retinopathy you could be entitles to claim PIP or attendance allowance. Further details here:
People with sight loss confused by 'disjointed' system
People with sight loss in the UK are confused by a “disjointed” certification and registration system that “creates a barrier” for people trying to access support, benefits and rehabilitation, a new academic study has reported. The research, led by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and published in the journal Eye, examined experiences of people with sight loss around receiving a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI), and their subsequent access to welfare, support or further healthcare assistance through a Referral of Vision Impairment (RVI).
Patients reported confusion regarding decisions and processes of certification and registration. Some reported inconsistency among people who certified them, with some more inclined to certify than others. Participants also reported long waiting lists for accessing support, and issues with capacity for social services support from local authorities.
Participants also were unsure exactly what certification and registration entitled them to, and where services could be accessed. Interviews also suggested that optometrists do not tend to engage much with the certification process.
Sight loss can have a profound impact on mental health
Blindness is a condition that affects around 2 million people in the UK, and it can have a wide range of causes.
Some people are born with visual impairments, while others may develop them later in life due to illness, injury, or age-related conditions. Regardless of the cause, sight loss can have a significant impact on mental health. According to the RNIB:
- 31 per cent of blind and partially sighted people are rarely, or never, optimistic about the future.
- Only 17 per cent of people experiencing sight loss are offered emotional support in relation to their deteriorating vision.
- More than 4 in 10 people attending low vision clinics are suffering from symptoms of clinical depression.
- People affected by sight loss were more than twice as likely to have experienced difficulties with unhappiness or depression than the UK average.
Blindness can have a profound impact on children’s mental health
There are an estimated 37,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in England and Wales. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week’s focus is ‘Anxiety’ as they aim to increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. Research on the mental health of children affected by sight loss is limited but it indicates that vision impairment is associated with greater symptoms of anxiety and depression.
One of the most significant challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people of all ages is social isolation. They can find it difficult to participate in many social activities, including meeting up with friends or family, attending events, or participating in hobbies.
This can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. Many of those affected by sight loss also experience low self-esteem and confidence.
The Royal Society for Blind Children offers a range of services including emotional support and practical advice for families of blind and partially sighted children, and activities for the children and young people to build confidence, resilience and skills. The charity also has a specialist further education college, Dorton College for 16-25-year-old vision-impaired students.