Wed, 14 Aug 2019
EVERY day in the UK 250 people start to lose their sight and more than two million are living with sight loss.
At least half of sight loss is avoidable; cataracts are treatable and if detected and treated early some sight loss due to glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration could be avoided.
Berkshire Vision provides practical and friendly support to hundreds of children and adults who are blind or partially- sighted.
There are many causes of sight loss, from those born blind to those who lose their sight during childhood or young adulthood to those affected by macular degeneration later in life.
Learning you have lost or are losing your sight can be frightening and leave those affected isolated.
Berkshire Vision helps those living with sight loss and their families to live their lives to the full, safely and independently.
Berkshire Vision helps to boost self-esteem and confidence through the services it provides:
Home visitors provide practical and friendly support; a listening ear to talk to about coming to terms with sight loss, linking with partners for advice on benefits, information about the resources and technology available to help with everyday tasks and help identifying and accessing things to do in the local community.
Children and family support
From tactile and sensory animal days, pizza-making parties, to trips to the pantomime and Legoland, Berkshire Vision provides support for all the family – children and young people affected by sight loss, their parents and their sighted siblings.
This age group really benefits from peer support and being together, sharing experiences and making friends with people of the same age living with sight loss. They enjoy visits to the pub planning their next activity, from trips to London to meals out.
Across the county, Berkshire Vision has eight clubs meeting at least monthly which provide friendship, information and support. The charity has two minibuses which help with transport to and from the social clubs.
Exercise is good for everyone, for mental and physical health and none more so than if you are visually impaired.
Berkshire Vision has a sports programme for all ages, abilities and sight loss, from tandem cycling, fishing, swimming, running, dragon boating, tennis and many more.
Out and about
Many of us take visits to the theatre or a boat trip for granted. If you’ve lost your sight, it’s not always easy to get out and about. Berkshire Vision offers a wide variety of activities, from West End theatre trips, museum visits, days out at the seaside and many more. Where possible, activities involve audio description and/or a sensory experience.
Berkshire Vision is equipped with resources to help make life a little easier when you’ve lost your sight, from technology that reads out the local newspaper to a liquid level indicator that helps to safely make a cup of tea. Berkshire Vision works closely with RNIB and Guide Dogs and signposts to their complementary support when needed.
Berkshire Vision would welcome hearing from you if you would like to invite it to talk to your community group, workplace, school or college about eye health and the valuable work it does supporting the visually- impaired in Berkshire.
Contact Gerry Harmon to arrange – email email@example.com or call (0118) 987 2803.
THIS column is brought to you on behalf of the West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board. The board is responsible for improving the health and wellbeing of our population across the district by developing improved and joined-up health and social care services.
Tell us what you think by emailing Kamal Bahia, chair of Patient and Public Engagement Group, West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board – firstname.lastname@example.org