Being diagnosed with a visual impairment can have a devastating impact and it may take time to adapt, accept and embrace a new way of living.
Whether from birth or developed over time, visual impairment is a term experts use to describe any kind of vision loss, whether it's someone who cannot see at all or someone who has partial vision loss.
Living with a visual impairment can limit a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and, as a result, it can affect their quality of life. What a sighted person may find easy, someone living with a visual impairment - of any severity - will need a different approach.
The brain of a blind person makes new connections in the absence of visual stimulus which results in complementary abilities such as a heightened sense of hearing, smell or touch, as well as cognitive functions including memory and language.
An ophthalmologist will be able to measure your vision and determine if you are eligible to register for a certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI). Registering your loss of sight is not compulsory, but it can help you claim several benefits including parking concessions, reduced fees on public transport and Disability Living Allowance.
Blindness is the most severe form of visual impairment and it can reduce a person’s ability to live life unaided, but it doesn’t mean the visually impaired individual cannot live an independent life. In order to aid everyday living, why not consider the following:
- Decorate the home with contrasting colours to help recognise different rooms and find your way around.
- Are your home furnishings easy to find, feel and operate ie light switches, door handles and handrails?
- It’s worth thinking about the layout of your furniture (is it recognisable and easy to get to, are walkways clear?), as well as what new furniture/equipment you can bring into your home to help make everyday life easier (talking watches, easy to see clocks and LED motion sensor lights to name a few).
- Guide dogs – man’s best friend can provide a great sense of independence and companionship.
- Can you apply for a grant to contribute to equipment like voice recognition software or Braille books and keyboards?
Products that can help
At Ravencourt Living, our purpose is to create innovative products that are simple to operate and make a real difference to the lives of elderly and disabled people every day; we have over 20 years’ experience of designing market leading products for low vision users and we’re passionate about making these products more accessible to more people.
Below we have listed some of our top products designed to help people live well with visual impairment and remain independent for longer:
Talking kitchen scale with easy to see jug – the talking scale measures both liquids and solids and announces weight in grams, pounds, ounces and volume (ml) in a clear, English voice. It’s easy to operate and will not tip over easily - so if you have a passion for baking, there’s no reason you can’t whip up a Victoria Sponge!
Talking ear and forehead thermometer – this product reports your temperature (and the time and room temperature) which is ideal for those with a visual impairment or who prefer a vocal option. It also states the date and time (am and pm) and keeps up to 30 memory records of ear and forehead temperatures.
Daylight LED touch desk lamp - the daylight simulation helps low vision users and promotes long term eye health. The touch sensitive on/off buttons with dimming options makes this lamp ideal for any daily activities that require a little extra light (reading, sewing, crochet and jigsaw puzzles etc).
One Button Radio - operate a radio with ease and continue your love of music without a fiddly button in sight.
Charities and Voluntary Organisations
With almost 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss, if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a visual impairment then you are not alone.
Living well and learning all you can about your visual impairment can help you cope and find strategies to live life fully. The following services can offer help and support to blind and visually impaired people and their families, especially when recently diagnosed:
Helpline: 0303 123 9999
Helpline: 0300 3030 111
Helpline: 01233 64 8170
Helpline: 0300 111 4000
Helpline: 0345 123 2399
Helpline: 0207 723 5021