Support for people with sight loss

If you have sight loss and you're having difficulties carrying out activities of daily living we may be able to help. Our rehabilitation officers for visual impairment and support staff assist adults with sight loss, to live as safely and independently as possible.

If you have recently lost your sight, you may wish to be registered as someone with sight loss. Registration is not compulsory. If you choose not to be registered, you can still get support, and help.

Register a visual impairment

If you do choose to register, there are three main steps involved.

Step one

Go to an optician or your GP for a check-up. If necessary, they will refer you to the eye clinic at the hospital. At your appointment, an ophthalmologist will examine the health of your eyes and your eyesight.

Step two

An ophthalmologist decides if you are eligible for registration, they will complete an official Certificate of Vision Impairment with the results of your eye examination. The certificate will say if you're severely sight impaired or sight impaired. 

The eye specialist then sends copies of the certificate to you, your GP and your local authority. Watch a video from the Royal National Institute of Blind People on certifying vision loss.

Step three

After receiving a copy of your certificate, we will ask you if you would like to be included on the register.  The register is confidential, and your details will not be shared. The eye specialist will send copies of the certificate to you, your GP and to us here at the council.

Benefits of registration

Your registration confirms your sight loss and makes it easier for you to claim concessions (discounts) and benefits. We will give you a registration card that proves your registration status. Which concessions you are entitled to depends on whether you are registered as severely sight impaired or sight impaired.

Find out more about claiming benefits, concessions and registration if you have a vision impairment

The Royal National Institute of Blind People has produced a helpful guide for people at the early stages of losing their sight. Read their ‘Starting Out (PDF 1.2mb) guide on benefits, concessions and registration.

Get help

We will arrange for you to meet with a Rehabilitation Officer for Visual Impairment (ROVI) for an assessment.

We can advise you on equipment and adaptations that would improve your safety, wellbeing, communication or ability to carry out activities of daily living. A Rehabilitation Officer can give you advice on alternative ways to carry out activities, for example.

  • using the phone
  • writing emails and letters
  • signing forms
  • organising household chores.

We can also assist with accessing facilities in your local community.

Eligibility for equipment and adaptations

We will provide equipment or adaptations if they increase safety or help retain or regain skills that avoid or delay the need for care. First we will need to check if you are eligible to receive these services.

Sight and hearing loss

An impairment in both your sight and hearing may mean you have additional problems with communication, mobility and access to information.We will ensure that a worker with specialist knowledge is involved in the assessment and will assess the effects of visual and hearing loss together.

Low-vision clinic

We provide a low-vision clinic on behalf of the Local Health Authority.  Our Rehabilitation Officers for Visual Impairment (ROVIS) will assess your functional vision and give you advice and information.

Optical magnifiers can be issued, where appropriate, to enable you to manage a range of visual tasks. Rehabilitation Officers can also teach you low-vision therapy techniques to maximize your abilities. The low vision clinic is provided for the Health Authority and social care eligibility does not apply.

Get a referral to the low-vision clinic

To attend the low-vision clinic you will need to be referred by your optician or eye hospital. Eye hospital patients will still need to see an optician for a prescription. 

If you need further information please call Access Point, our contact centre for Adult Social Care. Someone will take your details and direct you to the most appropriate service.

Useful websites

Dual sensory loss: Deafblind UK.

Issues which may affect you if you are blind or partially sighted including work, carers, benefits and rights from GOV.UK

Information for everyday living from Royal National Institute of Blind People

Macular Society

East Sussex Association of Blind and Partially Sighted People

Articles for the Blind Royal Mail free postal service.