Your Consultant tells you your sight won’t be coming back and then that’s it. You go home. You can’t just look up what to do on Google either because you can no longer see! You are just left to figure it out. I have figured out a few things over the last seven months so here are the first steps I wish I’d known earlier …
1. Certificate of Sight Loss: This document is proof of your condition due to your performance on two tests. The Shellen Test measures your visual acuity (central vision) which is used to see detail. It is tested by reading down an eye chart. The second test is a Visual Field Test which measures what you can see around you when looking at a fixed point (peripheral vision). This involves pressing a button in response to flashing lights that appear in different locations. When both tests are completed, your consultant can determine whether you have a certifiable condition and to what extent.
2. Access to Work: This is a government grant scheme to support people in work. It covers support such as interpreters, specialist equipment and extra transport costs such as taxis where no public transport is available. It can also pay for assessments in your workplace to look at exactly what you need to do your job. You apply for the scheme online by completing a simple form on the government website. I’ll blog specifically on the scheme when I’ve completed my access to work process.
3. Sensory Team Rehabilitation Officers : I am extremely lucky to have an amazing health visitor who informed me about the Sensory Team when visiting to weigh my daughter. She actually completed a referral to the Council on my behalf and I now have fortnightly visits from a Sensory Team Officer. They are support workers who provide an integral service in relation to regaining your independence. My officer has provided me with gadgets, let me trial products before buying, helped me to connect with others in similar situations and has taught me how to prepare and cook food safely. My officer also acts as a soundboard for whatever I’m struggling with which keeps my well-being in check.
4. Audio Support: I’m far from technical but I can now use my iPhone and iPad with ease. I now ask Siri to do everything from texting to managing my calendar. It’s like having yout own PA. This takes some getting used to but I can now complete tasks such as my blog using the Audio Accessibility Settungs available on most devices.
Once these steps are in place, you find that you do actually have access to a lot of information. It just takes a little more time, a little more organisation and a little more preparation. There will be a lot to come soon in the product section of the blog to provide you with more information on gizmos and gadgets that make a difference.