What does it mean to be partially sighted? How can I be certified? What benefits could I get? What about equipment and accommodations? Can I get benefits for my disability? Your Benefits will walk you through everything you need to know about being partially sighted.
What does partially sighted mean?
You may wonder what the meaning of partially sighted is. In fact, you may be classified as partially sighted if your vision has deteriorated up to a certain level. The condition is now known as sight impaired.
Being partially sighted, also known as sight impaired, means that your vision and peripheral vision is impacted. This could also be the case for part of the field of your vision. There is a wide range of possibility. Then, an eye clinic in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland can make you certified.
How to be certified as partially sighted
Your ophthalmologist, by taking certain measurements, can take the decision. In fact, they can see if you are eligible for certification as being sight-impaired. If so, they will then complete an official certification. This will contain the results of your eye examination.
This is known as the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) in England. It is called BP1 in Scotland, and A655 in Northern Ireland.
After being registered as partially sighted, you will be contacted by social services. In fact, this is to arrange an assessment. Then, they will be looking at what your needs are and what needs to be done for you to remain independent.
Partially sighted benefits
There are a multitude of benefits for partially sighted people that you might be able to earn. They are:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (these benefits are tax-free and help towards costs related with your illness or disability);
- A tax allowance;
- A TV license fee reduction;
- Parking concessions (you may earn benefits like the Blue Badge for parking closer to your destination);
- Reduced prices for public transport.
Here are the yearly Blind Person’s Allowance rates for 2020 to 2022:
|Blind Person's Allowance rates from 2020 to 2022
|Blind Person's Allowance rate (per year)
|2021 to 2022
|2020 to 2021
Help with employment for partially sighted
If you are currently working, experienced a loss of sight and were diagnosed with a visual impairment, you can contact the Access to Work scheme.
Furthermore, this scheme is run by Jobcentre Plus and can help you in understanding what equipment and equipment for you at your job.
They can also provide grants for the cost of equipment or training you might need. In fact, this includes voice recognition software, Braille keyboard, computer display unit and embosser (printer that can convert text to Braille).
Do you feel that you have been turned down for a job because of your disability? You can file a complaint under the Equality Act 2010. You do not have to disclose your visual impairment when applying for a job. However, it is recommended.
Am I eligible to get special equipment, or changes done to my house?
You may also be eligible to undertake changes to your home, and acquire equipment for yourself. This is so your home becomes more accommodating to your condition. This might be especially necessary if you live on your own.
Useful items and equipment might include:
- Community alarm;
- This is equipment is small and wearable and has a button. If pressed, this button sends an alert to the nearest response centre, which in term will inform a carer or nominated friend. You may ask for more information from your local authority;
- Bright lighting;
- If you are partially sighted, good bright bulbs and lights with modulable brightness are absolutely necessary. You will need them in areas like the kitchen and the stairs, where the risks of an accident happening is high. Fluorescent bulbs are recommended, as they tend to be cheaper than conventional bulbs, and produce more light in the long run;
- Computer, tablet or smartphone;
- Going on the internet might help with connecting with other people, including not only family and friends, but other people with visual impairments. The visual aspect of navigating is modulable, and it is a good method for obtaining goods and services. Lastly, you can buy equipment for partially sighted people from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) website, like big-button keyboards, screen software as well as text readers;
- Big-button telephone;
- You can buy landlines and mobile phones from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) website.
What about reading and writing?
If you are partially sighted and have trouble reading and writing, there are a multitude of options available to you.
First of all, you may use a magnifying glass. Although a simple option, they are extremely useful. They can make prints look bigger and a lot easier to read.
You may get one from places like hospital low-vision services, optometrists, local voluntary organizations, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) website.
You may also borrow a multitude of large print publications. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) provides some, also like most libraries.
You may also use an e-reader if you are partially sighted. In fact, e-readers allow you to download books, newspapers and magazines from the internet. They can also display text in large sizes. They can also use text to speech and read text out loud.
If you are completely unable to read, there are other options available to you. They are obtained through the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB):
- RNIB Newsagent;
- provides more than 200 newspapers and magazines in alternative formats. You may obtain them online or on audio CD;
- RNIB Talking Books Service;
- You can use this service to listen to books. Indeed, you may use it on your smartphone, tablet, computer or DAISY player. You may also get audio CDs and USB drives directly delivered to your house.
What equipment and help can I get for getting around if partially sighted?
In terms of driving, partially sighted people are legally required to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If you fail to do so, you may receive a fine of up to £1,000.
If you are certified as sight impaired, you will not be able to drive, as the DVLA will assume that your driving licence is not valid anymore.
You may use a long cane for walking. These are used to detect objects on your path. They also alert other pedestrians and drivers aware that you are sight-impaired. You may attend a class or training course to learn how to use it.
What other benefits can I get if I am partially sighted?
You may be certified as severely sight impaired. Then, a guide dog might also be a very useful option for a partially sighted person. They have been used for many years with people with visual impairments. They can provide you with independence, on top of being good companions. If you apply, all the necessary equipment is provided free of charge.
Financial assistance can also be offered for additional costs. This may include visits to the vet and food. You might also use a Global positioning system (GPS) to get around. It is a navigational aid that uses satellites to know where you are, and how to get to where you are going.
There are a lot of GPS apps you may download on your smartphone. You may also obtain one as a standalone unit. You may program them with a Braille keyboard for example.