October Newsletter No 327

Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance health product accessibility

Technology giant Microsoft and Haleon, a multinational healthcare company, are working together to make health products more accessible for people with vision impairments.

Together, the companies are expanding functionality in the Microsoft Seeing AI app to give users more detailed labelling information for over 1,500 Haleon products across the US and UK. This includes for products from Sensodyne, ChapStick, and Aquafresh.

Seeing AI is a free mobile app designed to help people who have trouble seeing by narrating the world around them. In the UK, there are more than two million people with sight loss, with 340,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted.

Users can hear packaging information through the app by scanning the barcode of Haleon products. This will provide an audio read-out of important information, such as product name, ingredients, and usage instructions.


RNIB: Resources available for library users with visual impairments

Currently throughout the UK there are over 2 million people living with sight loss and this number is only expected to rise.

Even more significant, is that one in every five people will start to live with sight loss in their lifetime.

Since libraries are vital community hubs which thousands of disabled and vulnerable people use, we want to make sure we can reach as many blind and partially sighted people as possible through an effective and mutually beneficial partnership with the public library service.

There is a huge plethora of resources, partnerships and expertise that the RNIB can offer including:

  • Direct link to the specialist RNIB library which caters for over 60,000 people who are print disabled in the UK.
  • Tips to make your social media more accessible
  • Practical information about eye health and living with sight loss
  • Links to partners within the RNIB to set up community groups, tech hubs and reading groups
  • Bespoke training packages on customer care for people with sight loss
  • FREE online visual awareness training that is CPD accredited
  • To carry out this important work the RNIB have recruited a new Library Engagement Manager, whose main role is to liaise with all the public libraries in the UK, so that they have the tools and resources to be able to provide the best possible customer service, support and advice for blind and partially sighted patrons. The RNIB is extremely excited to be setting up this partnership form of working with libraries and is working in partnership with Libraries Connected and their Vision and Print Impaired People’s Promise.

Read all about Share the Vision and their new resources at the Reading Sight website.

An example of a wonderful collaboration with libraries has been our tech hubs which are run by RNIB volunteers in a community space to help breach the digital divide specifically for blind and partially sighted people.

Blind and partially sighted library users (World Sight Day 2022)

Adaptations to make if you are losing your sight

RNIB urges us to ‘see the person, not the sight loss in new campaign

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and The&Partnership have launched a new campaign ‘See the Person’ – challenging outdated public attitudes and misperceptions of sight loss to break down barriers.

The number one barrier faced by blind and partially sighted people in the UK is public misperceptions, the leading insight that inspired the campaign. Delivered with authentic storytelling and a through-the-line campaign strategy, ‘See the Person’ elevates the issue of sight loss within the public consciousness, setting out to change attitudes and behaviours towards blind and partially sighted people.

At the heart of the campaign sits an emotive and thought-provoking film, directed by BAFTA-nominated Jesse Lewis-Reece at You Are Here. The film tells the story of Ava, a fictional teenage girl who must come to terms with losing her sight. Her story is inspired by the real-life sight loss journeys of many, capturing an authentic experience of diagnosis, which often mirrors the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance