Coronavirus information for visually impaired people
Finding local support
Visit our Coronavirus Community Hub page for information on how to get local support, shopping and essential supplies.
In addition, our Visual Impairment Rehabilitation Officers are available to give advice and guidance. You can contact the duty officer at the Adult Deaf & Visual Impairment Service on 0115 804 1238 each weekday afternoon.
During this time, you may be concerned about attending eye clinic appointments. Hospitals have rearranged their clinics to reduce the risk and minimise contact with other patients and staff. You can always call the hospital to seek advice. If you have a sudden change in your vision or new symptoms, contact your optician or eye doctor immediately. It is important you seek help, please don’t ignore symptoms.
Getting out and about
Although social distancing can be difficult, it’s really important for your mental and physical health that you still go outside and get exercise. So, if you don’t live with someone who is able to guide you, think about using your cane to alert people to your sight loss when you go out. Alternatively, you can let others know of your proximity verbally and that you are unaware of exactly where they are.
During this time, it’s especially important you stay connected with the outside world; whether it’s having Skype calls with family and friends, joining a Talk and Support group through the RNIB Helpline or signing up to a Keeping in Touch call with Guide Dogs. There are many sight loss forums available and most are open to your family and friends too. Having regular contact with people will help you to stay feeling positive.
If you also want to stay connected with the latest developments and information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and sight loss, listen to RNIB Connect Radio, the UK’s radio station for blind and partially sighted people. It’s available on Freeview 730 and online www.rnibconnectradio.org.uk
RNIB’s helpline: 0303 123 9999
(8am – 8pm weekdays; 9am – 5pm Saturdays)
Advisers can connect you to local support and assist you in signing up to telephone and online groups that may offer a source of comfort in these times. Through the same number, you can also access pre-recorded information on the coronavirus and the Government’s response.
Guide dogs’ COVID-19 information line: 0800 781 1444
(9am – 5pm weekdays)
Information for adults and families of children with sight loss about living actively, independently and keeping well during the coronavirus outbreak.
Blind veteran’s national support service helpline: 01273 391 447
(9am to 4pm, weekdays)
Blind Veterans UK are ensuring that the most vulnerable veterans are receiving everything they need right now. They are primarily delivering an outreach service on the telephone as well as a practical support service to blind veterans.
My Sight Notts: 0115 9706806
(10am till 4pm Monday to Friday)
My Sight Notts is your local sight loss charity for Nottinghamshire, who are currently delivering a number of services over the telephone and online.
For those feeling isolated during these challenging times, the charity are providing regular telephone contact from friendly people providing one to one chats. They also provide group telephone calls, giving people with sight loss in your area the chance to get together and chat.
The Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) is on hand to provide advice on a range of eye conditions, helping you look after your eye health and manage your sight loss condition during lockdown. He can also signpost or refer you to other support services.
You can still order from a range of daily living aids and equipment, such as bumpons, non-spill mugs and liquid level indicators, which can be sent direct to your home. Payments are taken over-the-phone with your credit/debit card.
To help you stay fit at home there is an audio described gentle chair-based exercise video or a more robust 30-minute workout, which you can join by clicking the link: https://www.mysightnotts.org.uk/events/stay-well-stay-active/
My Sight Notts are developing new ways to support Nottinghamshire’s visually impaired community as lockdown and shielding continues, so please watch this space as new services are announced.