Striking portraits of legendary singer Dame Shirley Bassey and actors Barbara Windsor and Neil Morrissey have been released by the charity RNIB today to mark the launch of its new campaign ‘See the need’.
The photographs, shot by celebrated portrait photographer Alistair Morrison, show the celebrities with their eyes closed to raise awareness of the challenges facing people who lose their sight.
The charity is campaigning for every eye department in the UK to have access to a sight loss adviser, a specially trained member of staff who can provide practical and emotional support to patients who have just found out they’re losing their sight.
Currently just one in three eye departments in the UK have access to a sight loss adviser and RNIB is warning that patients are being left alone after the devastating news that they’re going blind.
Dame Shirley Bassey said; “As a singer, I need my sight.
I’d miss so many things that are going on in the world, like colours, paintings, trees, wonderful buildings, castles. I need to see faces. I need to see the reactions of the people. If I couldn’t see the people, I could not imagine myself singing.”
Barbara Windsor added; “I want to see everything that’s going on, know everything that’s going on, and I’ve always been like that.
“I’d hate not to see, I couldn’t bear that. It must be really hard for somebody to lose their sight; I think it’s about time we started a new campaign to say ‘hey, this is important’”.
Photographer Alistair Morrison said; “I’ve been a photographer for 30 years and I’ve used my sight for everything I’ve done. Without it, it would be a completely different world for me. I think it’s essential that people understand that the moment you lose your sight, you’re going to be lost and at that time you’re going to need help. The idea that only one in three hospitals has that support is not right, and it has to change.”
Sight loss advisers offer emotional support and practical advice to people who are losing their sight. They help people understand their eye condition and explain how to take treatment that might prevent further sight loss.
Based in eye clinics and hospitals, sight loss advisers are a vital link to services such as counselling, workplace support and rehabilitation, so that people can adapt to life with sight loss whilst remaining independent.
RNIB is encouraging people to demand support in their area by signing the petition at www.rnib.org.uk/see.