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Visual impairment service

The visual impairment service for adults aims to support you to live your best life with your visual impairment and connect to your local community.

The service provides registration, rehabilitation and advice for those people who have a visual impairment or blindness. The service will provide a free assessment, support, and advice.

The Visual Impairment Register

The Visual Impairment Service maintains a register of people with visual impairments in accordance with statutory requirements to plan the provision of services to meet demand for care and support.

It also monitors changes to the number of adults in the area with the need for care and support needs through visual impairment.

There are 2 levels of registration: sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind).

Reasons to be registered as visually impaired

By registering as visually impaired, you will:

  • be known to the authority as having a visual impairment
  • be directed to help and support that is available to meet your needs
  • help the authority understand the number of people in the area with a visual impairment
  • help the authority by being a member of the register plan for services to meet your needs
  • have a choice to join the register or not - it's voluntary, completely confidential and your details won’t be shared
  • be entitled to claim a wide range of concessions (depending on level of registration)
  • receive a registration card proving your registration status
  • have opportunities to be consulted with in relation to the service being provided for the visual impairment service

The Visual Impairment Assessment

The visual impairment service offers an assessment to establish your needs relating to your visual impairment.

During your assessment information is gathered about the background of your sight loss and the difficulties you could be having. This is a two-way open discussion covering all areas of your life which your sight loss has an impact on.

The information gathered is used to agree a person centred and strength-based approach to a rehabilitation plan.

The assessment generally takes place at home but can also be at work, day centre or another residential establishment. It takes into consideration your physical, social, and cultural needs and those of your carer.

Benefits of an assessment

  • your needs are identified
  • a plan is made with you that include some goals that can be achieved to meet your needs
  • you are provided with the most up to date information in relation to equipment and technologies which may help you
  • you can access visual impairment equipment which can help you walk independently
  • you can access a wider selection of equipment which can support your safety and independence such as chair raisers, bathing equipment, toilet frames
  • you can access a wider selection of minor or major adaptations to your home to meet your needs such as grab rails or walk in showers – see minor adaptations and major adaptations
  • you can be supported to apply for grants to obtain equipment such as reading devices
  • you can be supported and signposted to other services which can support you to stay safe and independent and live your best life in your own home

Individual Rehabilitation Programmes

Rehabilitation programmes can enable people with a visual impairment to regain confidence and develop independence.

These include areas such as daily living activities, communication, technology and orientation and mobility (inside and out in the community).

Benefits of programmes

Rehabilitation can teach you new techniques to live your best life with visual impairment.

You can also access training:

  • for activities of daily living in your own home
  • to walk outdoors and access the local community safely
  • for communication and technology activities

Specialist Visual Impairment Equipment

Orientation and mobility aids – symbol cane to raise awareness of sight loss.

Guide and long canes - these canes are issued, with training, from qualified visual impairment rehabilitation workers. Canes can help someone walk and navigate in the community more safely and prevent falls.

Liquid level indicator – a small device placed on a cup or mug when filling it with liquid. The indicator will beep when the water reaches a level near the top of the cup or mug informing the user when to stop pouring. The liquid level indicator prevents people from over filling a cup or mug and scolding themselves with hot water.

Bumpons – these are easy to peel and stick, bumpons are the perfect solution for marking different equipment around the office or home, such as the settings on a washing machine or microwave.

This is a simple solution to making life easier and supporting safety and independence when having to set timers, settings on electrical appliances, and aligning dials in the home.

Specialist visual impairment adaptations

  • lighting strips - long tubular lights which illuminate the room without glare or shadow
  • yellow/white line edging to external steps - yellow or white line painted on the edge of your external steps to prevent people with visual impairment tripping or falling

Deafblind assessments

The visual impairment service works alongside specialist deafblind organisations to assess and support people with dual sensory loss.

Other agencies which may help you:

RNIB - a national charity which supports people suffering from sight loss to live their lives to the full. They can offer specialist support, information, and advice.

NAB - the local charity which supports people suffering from sight loss to live their lives to the full.& Based in Northamptonshire, they can offer specialist support, information, and advice.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association - a national charity which uses guide dogs to help blind and partially blind people.

Pocklington Trust - a national charity to support blind and partially sighted people of all ages to live the life they want to lead.

Specsavers - if you are not able to get to the opticians due to a physical or mental disability, Specsavers offer a free home eye test.

IC Vision - suppliers of Magnifying Glasses and Low Vision Aids for Independent Living.

HumanWare - a worldwide company, based in Northamptonshire, HumanWare specializes in the design and manufacture of highly intuitive and intelligent solutions for people living with vision loss or visual impairment.

Sight and Sound Technology - a main provider, based in Northamptonshire, of hardware and software for the blind, visually impaired and those with learning and reading difficulties.

Deafblind Enablement - an organisation dedicated to enabling people who live with a sight and hearing loss to learn new skills, develop existing skills, gain access to their community and existing services

Deaf Connect - a charity in Northamptonshire supporting deaf people of all ages.

RNID - a national charity working on behalf of people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

British Deaf Association - a membership organisation led by Deaf people, for Deaf people.

How to request an assessment

You can use our online form to request an assessment:

Alternatively, you can telephone the customer service centre on 0300 126 7000, then choose Option 1, Option 2, Option 2.

Last updated 27 November 2023