Keeping an eye on vision loss

Blind Veterans UK has highlighted common sight loss signals for people visiting elderly relatives

20 Jul 2017 by Andrew McClean

National charity, Blind Veterans UK, is calling on people visiting elderly relatives this summer to look out for signs that they may be struggling with sight loss.

The charity told OT that it often sees a spike in applications following holiday periods, as a result of referrals from relatives who have visited a grandparent or elderly relative and noticed a deterioration in their vision.

Paul Hartley, the charity’s senior rehabilitation officer for people with vision impairment, said: "Here at Blind Veterans UK we want to help all veterans discover life beyond sight loss, including people in the older generation who served in the UK Armed Forces or completed National Service and lost their sight in later life." 

"Our community support workers can offer mobility training to help avoid trips and falls, recommend low vision equipment such as text to speech scanners, liquid level indicators and electronic magnifiers, or even suggest social events in their local community," he added.

Blind Veterans UK highlighted that if an elderly relative is cleaning their glasses frequently, tripping or bumping into objects, losing track of visible items, avoiding social events or overfilling a glass then they may be struggling with sight loss.  

Libby Woods, granddaughter of one of the charity’s beneficiaries, described to OT the positive impact Blind Veterans UK has had on her grandfather’s life following sight loss. 

“The support of Blind Veterans UK has really given him a new lease of life. He now uses a talking watch, reads his paper with a special magnifier and keeps in touch with friends and family via email,” Ms Woods explained.  

Ms Woods’ grandfather, Robert Ware, served in the North Atlantic aboard HMS Albrighton, and has received the charity’s support since losing his sight as a result of age-related macular degeneration.

For more information on how the charity can help an elderly relative, visit the Blind Veterans UK website.