Left to cope alone – the newly blind abandoned by hospitals finds RNIB report

Left to cope alone – the newly blind abandoned by hospitals finds RNIB report

Almost half of all eye hospitals in the UK do not offer any support to people who are going blind

Tens of thousands of people are going without the vital emotional and practical support they need when they start to go blind. In the UK, someone starts to lose their sight every 15 minutes. However, research by the charity has found only 218 of more than 400 (53%) eye clinics in the UK have any type of support staff available for patients to talk to after their diagnosis

A new report by RNIB, ‘Hanging by a thread’, also reveals just how precarious funding is for existing sight loss adviser roles as many of the services  have no guaranteed funding after April 2015.

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. They are a vital link with services such as counselling, workplace support and rehabilitation, so that people adapting to life with sight loss can remain independent.

RNIB is now calling on the NHS and other funders to defend the posts of existing sight loss advisers and is urging the public to sign its petition calling for every eye clinic to have a sight loss adviser by 2019.

What’s it like to lose your sight?

Every 15 minutes someone in the UK starts to lose their sight, so what’s it like to be told that your vision is failing and what kind of support can you expect? Watch the following video from RNIB to find out.

Liz from Sheffield was diagnosed with macular degeneration ten years ago. When she lost her sight Liz was scared, frightened and in complete and utter shock. Nobody explained to Liz about the details of her condition and she needed somebody to give her emotional support to help her deal with her situation.

New research reveals that almost half of all eye clinics in the UK do not offer any practical or emotional support to people who are going blind. So if you heard the words ‘I’m sorry, you’re losing your sight and there’s nothing more we can do’ what support would you expect to help you rebuild your life?

Watch our video where Liz tells her story, sight loss advisers talk about the work they do to support people with sight loss and find out why RNIB is calling for an increase in the number of sight loss advisers in UK eye clinics.