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Blind and sight impaired

Visual impairment means when someone experiences some degree of sight loss which cannot be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses.

There are 2 categories of visual impairment:

  • moderate - where people have some vision
  • severe - where sight loss means that the person cannot carry out activities that require eyesight

You can find out more about visual impairment on NHS Choices.

If you have a visual impairment, you may find it more difficult to carry out day to day activities or get out and about. You can get useful advice, information and support to help with this from Sight Support Derbyshire. We have a contract with Sight Support Derbyshire to provide a rehabilitation and mobility service. For more information please see the sight impairment fact sheet attached to this page.

You may live at home and need some help and support. You can also find information and support to help you get out and involved with the community.

If you feel you need more help, you may benefit from having an assessment of your needs. This means that a social worker or community care worker will contact you and arrange to visit to talk about your needs, and how they can best be met. If you're eligible for a service from us we'll work with you to create a support plan that helps you achieve your goals and outcomes.

If you have problems with hearing as well as sight, known as 'dual sensory loss', then you can access further information and specialist technical sensory assessment from us.

To make a referral for an assessment, or for any other information, contact Call Derbyshire email: or tel: 01629 533190.

Video versions of various fact sheets are on our YouTube channel. As well as featuring British Sign Language and English Subtitles, the videos have voice over so cater for people with a sight impairment.

Advice during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 outbreak people who are blind or partially sighted may be struggling. To help, the RNIB have put together a range of resources to assist.

The RNIB helpline has expanded its opening hours. It is now open on weekdays from 8am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9am to 5 pm. Tel: 0303 123 9999.

Guide Dogs

A COVID-19 information Line is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm and gives advice about keeping independent and well during the outbreak. Tel: 0800 781 1444.

Eye health

If you have a sudden change in your vision or new symptoms contact your optician or eye doctor immediately. Do not ignore symptoms.


You can contact the Derbyshire Community Response Unit if you need help with shopping or other essential supplies and have no one to help you. Tel: 01629 535091.

Getting out and about

Although it can be difficult with social distancing it is important for your mental and physical health that you go outside and get exercise. If you don’t live with someone who can guide you think about using a cane to alert people to your sight loss.

Keep connected

Link to the outside world as much as possible by talking to friends and family on Skype. There are many sight forums that are available too. You could join a talk and support group through the RNIB helpline or sign up to the keeping in touch call with guide dogs.

If you want to stay in touch with the latest development and information on COVID-19 listen to RNIB Connect radio, the UK’s radio station for blind and partially sighted people. It's also available on Freeview channel 730.