Living With Sight Loss

More than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives, such as not being able to drive.

This includes:

  • People who are registered blind or partially-sighted
  • People whose vision is better than the levels that qualify for registration
  • People who are awaiting or having treatment such as eye injections, laser treatment or surgery that may improve their sight
  • People whose sight loss could be improved by wearing correctly prescribed glasses or contact lenses.

‘I’ve had to change things or give up things but reading keeps me in touch with who I think I am and that’s why it’s so important to me really.’
Assessing the Impact of Reading for Blind and Partially Sighted Adults, RNIB

Guide 1: What do we know about blind and partially sighted people?

There are 1.2 million people living with sight loss who are aged 75 years and over. There are over 25,000 blind and partially-sighted children aged 16 years and under in the UK. As many as half of these children have other disabilities.

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Guide 2: What are some of the impacts of sight loss?

Some people are born with an eye condition. More commonly sight loss develops during older age. Although most people have some sight, some experience further loss of vision over time and others have no useful vision.

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Guide 3: What is visiting your library like for a visually-impaired visitor?

Public libraries are a vital link for people, and we need to make them as accessible as we can. This good practice guidance introduces some key accessibility issues and should, of course, also apply to all library users.

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Guide 4: Navigating the library

This guide considers how best to help people to move around the library building safely and easily. Again, it’s important to ‘walk through’ the building to discover how easy/difficult navigation is.

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Guide 5: Successfully communicating with visually impaired people

A lot of the time, we talk to people ‘on the go’, throwing comments over our shoulder as we go off to another part of the library. For many library users, this can be confusing, so try to stay still and talk directly to the person.

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Guide 6: Making community contacts

You may be in the lucky position of working in a library which is already well used by visually-impaired people. If you don't, however, there are steps you can take to develop contacts and build up activities

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