Feeling good about and within yourself
Organisations and charities that support people with sight loss recognise the emotional impact of living with low vision. All have useful hints and tips and useful strategies, designed to assist with the emotional impact of sight loss. Many can provide access to counselling services for both the individual with sight loss and their family. Others will signpost you to local sources of support. Visit this page for signposting to services.
RNIB’s helpline team will help you to access RNIB’s counselling services or point you towards local support. Call 0303 1239999 or e-mail email@example.com to learn more.
The Macular Society also provides telephone counselling for anyone with a macular condition. It provides support for people with Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition which results in the person with low vision seeing visual hallucinations. For more details on the condition visit www.esmesumbrella.org.uk
Techniques Managing Sight Loss course attendees have developed to cope with the emotional impact of sight loss
Below are a few techniques that people use to counter the frustrations of everyday living as a blind or partially sighted person. Everyone is different so coping strategies are personal.
- When people don’t understand my sight loss, I have to take a deep breath, relax and patiently explain. It’s much better that I tell them what I need but it is irritating to keep repeating myself. Focussing on my breathing really helps me to relax and keep calm.
- I like to count before I speak as taking a little extra time to answer helps me frame my answer and prevents me from being grumpy.
- I find it’s always better to be honest and explain how I feel. I work hard not to bottle anything up.
- Friends are so important, it’s human connections which make you feel good. I’ve good friends that allow me to let off steam.
- Meeting other people who are blind or partially sighted allows me to share and learn from people who are experiencing life like me.
- I make myself better by treating myself to something nice.
- I relax to music.
- Being physically active lets me blow off steam and put things into perspective.
- I like to practise mindfulness; this is a technique where you focus on your breathing and the present moment. The Headspace app on Alexa is a good place to start.
- Me time works; just doing something special for me.
- I like to learn new skills: if I can make something that gives me a great sense of achievement.
- I like to do nice things for other people; giving something back makes me feel good.
The NHS and MIND website both outline five steps to wellbeing
- Connect: take time and connect with another person if at all possible, face to face and not via an electronic device. Try and eliminate as many distractions as possible.
- Be physically active: this can be as simple as playing your favourite tune and dancing round the kitchen.
- Learn a new skill.
- Give to others: giving to others can be extremely rewarding.
- Pay attention to the present moment: mindfulness.
Health and nutrition
Each specific eye disease charity provides specific nutrition and health advice.
- Macular Society macularsociety.org
- Glaucoma UK glaucoma.uk
- Retinal conditions retina.uk
- Diabetes diabetesuk.org.uk
If you are struggling to find your eye condition’s organisation, call the RNIB Helpline 0303 1239999.
Managing Sight Loss course attendees’ tips for eating healthily
- Keep a record of what you are eating – a food diary – this helps you keep a check on what you are actually eating and drinking.
- Try and save treats for one day of the week or perhaps a specific time of the day.
- You can make eating and preparing fruit simpler by purchasing prepared fruits – it’s a bit more expensive but you find you actually eat it as there is no peeling or chopping
- Use a smaller plate to reduce portion sizes.
- Swap tea and coffee for water to make sure you are keeping hydrated.
- Apps like Be My Eyes, Seeing AI, and KNFB Reader allow you to read nutritional information on packaging.
- Visit the company’s website to obtain nutritional information on products
- Use smart speakers like Amazon Alexa for healthy recipe advice.
- Talking kitchen scales can give you an accurate measure of the amount of food you are to eat.
For more information on healthy eating www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide
Managing Sight Loss course attendees’ tips for getting a good night’s sleep
- Avoid alcohol.
- Choose foods and the time of eating to suit you and your daily routine.
- Set up a bedtime routine.
- Avoid screens, phones and other technology at least 45 minutes before getting into bed.
- Sleep apps which provide white noise or the reading of a monotonous story.
- Keep a gratitude diary, and identify at least three things you are grateful for before you go to bed.
Staying physically active
There are many ways of staying active: walking, dancing to name but two. Many don’t require you to leave your home. There are a range of activities audio described and designed for blind and partially sighted people. Visit Metro Blind Sport’s website to find out more.
If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all who’ve attended London Vision’s Managing Sight Loss sessions over the last year and contributing so many ideas on wellbeing and health.
Want more resources? Go back to the Managing Sight Loss course resources page.