Frequently asked questions

Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

A man and a woman wearing Action lanyards sitting in an office smiling

If you do not find the answer to your question here, please contact your nearest local Action team and you will be assigned your own personal advisor. Alternatively you can contact us through the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk.

Our publication 'Getting On' also contains lots of useful information and contact details for visually impaired people, their families and friends.

Is there any financial help available to blind or partially sighted people?

Yes there is financial assistance available. Contact your nearest local Action team for a benefits check by one of our Welfare Rights Officers.

Do I need to register as partially sighted or blind?

Registration is a personal choice. It is not compulsory, but it can be very helpful when applying for benefits and concessions such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), disabled persons’ rail card, or the half price TV licence. Registration will be required by April 2011 in order to receive the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance.

More information is on the sight loss registration page.

How do I get registered as partially sighted?

Ask your GP or optician to refer you to a consultant ophthalmologist. If your sight cannot be improved medically, and depending on your degree of sight loss, the consultant will tell you if you are eligible for registration as 'sight impaired/partially sighted' or as 'severely sight impaired/blind'.

A CVI (certificate of visual impairment) form needs to be completed by your ophthalmologist, and you will be registered as either sight impaired or severely sight impaired. A copy of the form will then be sent to you and your GP, and your case will be allocated to a Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired.

More information is on the sight loss registration page.

My sight is deteriorating and I am having difficulties coping at work. What should I do?

The Government’s Access to Work scheme can provide you with practical support, including access technology equipment, support workers and fares to work. Contact our Employment Line on 0800 440 2255 for support and advice. You can also contact your local Jobcentre Plus office for details, or visit the Gov website.

Will I lose my job now that my sight has deteriorated?

Hopefully you will be able to continue with your job. There may need to be some adjustment and this is where we can help.

Action for Blind People works with both employees and employers to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all concerned. With the help of your nearest Access to Work Team, specialist equipment can be provided to help you do your job such as:

  • Screen reading software.
  • Screen magnification software.
  • CCTVs for reading documents.

Contact our Employment Line or call on 0800 440 2255 for information, support and advice.

What other support is available to help me with my job?

You may also be able to get support with travel to and from work, or a support worker to help you with those parts of your job which are hard to perform due to your disability.

It may be possible to re-deploy you within the company, and if this cannot be done, we will work with you and your employer to achieve a mutually satisfactory result. If this is the case, we will support you to find alternative employment or undergo training if required.

Talk to a member of our employment team for further information, you can contact us by calling 0800 440 2255 or email employmentline@actionforblindpeople.org.uk.

Where can I get equipment to help me read?

There are plenty of gadgets to assist with reading. You can visit one of our resource centres or find out when our mobile resource centre will be near you. Get in touch with your local Action team for information, advice and support on reading options.

Alternatively, contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 has information about low vision clinics where you can go to have your vision assessed and receive magnifiers and low vision aids to assist you with reading. Your GP will need to refer you to your nearest low vision clinic.

Can I get a discount on public transport?

Discounts on bus travel vary across the country. Contact your local council to find out what is available in your area. If you are a permanent resident in a London borough, the Freedom Pass enables you to travel free on all London's public transport, provided you are aged 60 or over, or are blind or partially sighted, or have certain other disabilities. For information on how to apply, go to the Freedom Pass website.

You can get a Disabled Persons Railcard, entitling you to discounts on most rail ticket prices, if you are registered blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired). Fill in the application form, which you can get from your local station, and apply by post with payment and proof of your registration. When you buy a ticket, it is worth asking if your railcard will give you the cheapest fare for your journey, as some advance tickets may be better value.

My relative is blind and hasn't been on holiday for several years. Are there any holidays or hotels specially for visually impaired people?

Action for Blind People has hotels in Weston super Mare, Teignmouth and Windermere. We also have a fact sheet giving details of other organisations and services you can contact. Find out more about our holidays at Vision Hotels.

I am living in unsuitable housing and no-one seems able to help me. What can I do?

We have specialist regional housing coordinators throughout England who can offer practical information and advice across a range of housing issues. Contact your local Action for Blind People Team and ask to be referred to a housing coordinator.

My child has been diagnosed with an eye condition. What services are available to help him/her?

The 'Children and parents' section of our booklet 'Getting On' gives details of several organisations that provide support, tells you about books for visually impaired children, education, Actionnaires out of school clubs, toys and games, and benefits for children.

Download 'Getting On'

Action for Blind People also runs activities clubs for visually impaired children and their families. Explore the children, young people and families section of our website for more information.

I have been diagnosed with an eye condition. How can I find out more about it?

Our website has information about the most common eye conditions.

RNIB have information on eye conditions from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Moorfields Eye Hospital is one of the world’s largest centre for eye care and research.

NHS Direct is the website to the NHS Direct health advice service, with information and advice about various eye conditions.

I feel I'm being discriminated against because of my visual impairment. What should I do?

You may be able to take legal action under the Equality Act. You can contact us through the RNIB Helpline by calling 0303 123 9999 for advice on disability discrimination and human rights, as well as other legal issues.

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