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Last updated 19th January 2024

Sight Loss

Sight Loss

  • There are several hundred diseases of the eye: it is important to understand the individuality of people suffering from this loss. Never assume what a person needs - ask them and respect their wishes.
  • People who are blind or visually impaired often experience communication difficulties as people take eye contact and body language for granted.
  • Supply written information (including that on a screen) in large print (font size 18-point, sans serif) and other alternative formats (e.g. audio, electronic, Braille).  Use good colour contrast: dark blue/black on pale yellow/cream is best. 
  • If songs are projected on a screen, consider converting the words into large, easy to read script.  Free software is available eg. veedio
  • When you greet a person who is blind, stand in front of them and speak clearly.  Most sight loss is due to the ageing process and therefore some people may also have a degree of hearing loss, hence the request to make sure people have heard what is being said.
  • Please note braille is not used as much as previously. In a church situation tactile forms of reading, such as Braille and Moon, are very rarely used as it is bulky and difficult to manage. A particular individual may have need of this material, but in this case it is likely they will have their own. If you have people who are blind or partiality sighted in your congregation, ask them first. If it is a visitor, it might be better to explain why you don’t have these items rather than invest in something which will only be used once or twice if at all - they will surely understand, but appreciate your concern.
  • Most people with sight loss will carry a white status cane. This obviously helps their sighted contemporaries to be aware of their situation. However, some people may be too sensitive about their loss to carry a cane.
  • Techniques have been developed to help sighted people guide people who are blind or have slight loss safely, e.g. going through gaps only wide enough for one, helping them into chairs, sitting at a table and assisting them into vehicles. These techniques would be extremely useful to make someone feel safe and cared for. (See RNIB below)
  • Taking time to describe the surroundings to a person with sight loss can help them orientate themselves. If they are on their own, offering to sit with them might be appreciated: blindness can be very isolating.

Organisations providing support include: