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Visual Impairment

by User Not Found | Oct 11, 2012

Among these two million people, over 370,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted. Many technically blind people have some useful perception of light and shape.

Some people will be affected by a sight problem from birth, whilst others may inherit an eye condition. Others may lose their sight as the result of an accident, whilst illness can lead to conditions such as diabetic retinopathy.

Many people with sight problems lead full and independent lives. Some may need assistance with certain tasks and may have to adapt their daily lives, although this is possible and very often achieved with success.

Age-related eye conditions are the most common cause of sight loss in the UK. Ninety-five per cent of people with sight problems in the UK are sixty-five or over.

(source – RNIB)

The most common causes of Visual Impairments are;

  • Macular Degeneration – causes distorted vision, straight lines appear wavy, and objects appear larger or smaller than they really are.
  • Glaucoma – may cause a dull, aching pain and foggy vision
  • Cataracts – can cause blurred vision, colours appear faded and bright lights become dazzling.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – causes double vision and difficulty focusing
  • Injury or Trauma to the eyes

Visual Impairment Friendly Practices

Blind and partially sighted people work in virtually every employment sector and use a range of techniques to help them carry out their job roles. There are products and services that can help you and your employee ensure work is still carried out to the best of their ability. For example;

Technology

  • Provide access to software that magnifies a portion of a monitor screen or a video magnifier that enables people to see documents more clearly.
  • Make documents available in alternate formats such as Braille, large print or audio.
  • Use screen reading software and dictation software to access electronic documents and web pages.

Adaptation to the working environment

  • Ensuring that the paths that the employee who is blind or visually impaired will be using are cleared of obstacles.
  • Use lower wattage overhead lights to reduce glare and desk lamps to focus light where needed.

Effective Communication

  • When starting a conversation, identify yourself and any others who are with you.
  • If the conversation is over or if you are moving from one place to another, clearly indicate this out loud.
  • Feel free to use words like “look”, “see”, or “read”; people who are blind use these words too!
  • When you are leaving the room, say so.

Specialist visual impairment software and hardware as well as product training is available through the re-adjust initiative; these are just some of the products: