Bright Sight

Oliver Backhouse, Consultant Eye Surgeon

Managing with low vision

These days there is a lot of local authority and charitable help for those with poor vision. These should be taken advantage of rather than believing that little can be done to help. Should you wish, your Ophthalmologist can register you as having sight difficulty. This facilitates the opening up of doors to get the help and access to what is available. Importantly it puts you in contact with a representative who has expert knowledge to what help is available locally to you in order that you can remain as independent as possible understanding that you have sight difficulty. Other organisations such as the RNIB can be very helpful and have details of societies for differing eye complaints.

Below are a few tips to help those with poor vision:

  • Get regular Low Visual Aid Assessments (LVA) from your local hospital eye department or Optometrist (Optician). New magnification aids are always being developed. have some excellent digital magnifiers such as the Ruby or even a magnifier that will read a letter to you – the Vocatex.
  • Make things bigger, bolder and brighter.
  • Enhance the contrast of what you see. This can be done with good lighting.
  • Use large print books. Enlargement photocopy can help other text. Utility bills can be provided in large print as well.
  • Binoculars.
  • Large plasma screen television for magnification.
  • Wear gloves while chopping vegetables.
  • Mark the edges of steps with a contrast strip.
  • If being helped with walking, get the helper to walk beside you with you holding onto their elbow or forearm.

Some other Low Vision Aids (LVAs) available:

  • Talking newspapers
  • Talking clocks
  • Talking books
  • Talking microwave / scales for cooking
  • Talking watch
  • Tactile markings on appliances
  • Liquid level Indicator
  • Big button Telephones
  • Audio Description - TV, Cinema and Theatre
  • Large print crossword books/ playing cards
  • Signature guides/ cheque book guides
  • Writing frames
  • Reading guides (typoscopes)
  • Task lamps
  • Dosset pill boxes for medication
  • Coin holders
  • Video magnifiers - MonoMouse - to read printed items on the TV screen
  • Talking bathroom scale

Making the most of your sight

Making things bigger

  • Easy to see products
  • Moving things closer to your eyes
  • Using a magnifier

Making things bolder

  • Colour Contrast - contrasting backgrounds
  • Putting tape on the edges of work surfaces and shelves in a contrasting colour or tone e.g., it is easier to see a white plate on a purple table cloth than a purple plate on a purple tablecloth
  • The best contrast is black and white
  • Write with a black felt pen.

Making things brighter

  • Using better lighting
  • Make sure that you have as much light as you feel comfortable with for each task
  • Shine a light directly on what you want to see - task lighting
  • Keeping light levels the same- if you have low vision, it can take a while for your eyes to adjust if you are moving from bright to dark places. Try keeping lighting levels bright and even throughout the home
  • Reducing light levels - Some people prefer less light, try to reduce lighting levels evenly throughout a room by using a dimmer switch. This allows you to vary the amount of overhead light.

Useful contact numbers

  • Leeds Adult Social Care - 0113 2224401
  • Leeds Children and Young People’s Social care - 0113 2224403
  • Bradford Adult Social Care - 01274 435001
  • Leeds Centre for Blind and Partially Sighted People - 0113 214 4544
    Shire View , 72 Headingley Lane, Leeds. LS6 2DJ
  • Association of Blind Asians - Leeds - 0113 214 4538
    ABA, Shire View, 72 Headingley Lane, Leeds. LS6 2DJ
  • RNIB, Yorkshire Humber & North East - 0113 274 8855
    Providing advice and support with employment, technology, and education. It also provides Family support services and Leisure Services
  • RNIB Helpline - 0845 766 9999
  • Leeds Jewish Blind Society - 0113 2684211
    The Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Community Centre
  • Leeds Black Elders - 0113 237 4332
  • Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People - 0113 243 8328
    Centenary House, North Street, Leeds. LS2 8AY
  • Leeds Guide Dogs - 0113 275 6326 National Guide Dogs - 0118 983 5555

Talking books

Talking Newspapers

  • Otley & District Talking Newspaper - 01943 465115
    4 St Peter's Close. Otley. LS21 1RF
  • Talking Newspaper Association of the United Kingdom - 01435 86 61 02
    National Recording centre, Heathfield. East Sussex
  • Leeds talking Newspaper Association - 0113 214 4535
    Shire View, 72 Headingley Lane. Leeds. LS6 2DJ
  • Leeds Talking Magazine for the Blind Association - 0113 214 4535
  • RNIB Big Print Newspapers - 0800 124007

Welfare Benefits

  • Leeds Welfare Rights - 0113 214 9006
    116 York Road, Leeds. LS9 7RJ
  • Department of Work & Pensions - 0113 2309028
  • Leeds Disability Benefits Centre, Wing K, Government Buildings, Otley Road, Lawnswood. LS16 5PU
  • Leeds Citizens Advice Bureau - 0870 120 3450
    Westminster Buildings, 31 New York Street, Leeds. LS2 7DT
  • DIAL (Disablement Information & Advice Line) Leeds - 0113 214 3630
    St Catherine's, Tickhill Road, Doncaster. DN4 8QN
  • RNIB Welfare Rights - 0845 766 9999

Counselling Services

Travel passes

  • Concessions & Blue Badge Parking - 0113 3984700
    40/50 Wellington Street. Leeds. LS1 2DE
  • Access Bus - Leeds - 0113 3481900
    Access Bus - other areas - 01274 304297
  • Disabled person’s Railcard
    National Rail Enquiries - 08457 484950

National Charities