A key source of information, advice and support is your Local Authority’s social services department. Their Deaf and Visual Impairment Team (also sometimes called the Sensory Impairment Team or simply the Sensory Team ) is a group of trained, qualified professionals in place to help you get the help you need. You can get in touch with them by checking your local authority’s website or contacting them via telephone. Alternatively, local visual impairment charities and groups can often tell you how to contact them.
Usually you will need to be registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired in order to have your needs assessed by the team. If you are not registered, they will guide you through the process. If you are not eligible for registration, the team may not be able to assess you formally, but will still be happy to offer you information and advice on local groups and organisations, support services, and other resources in the area that may be of use to you.
If you are eligible for an assessment, usually a specialist Rehabilitation Officer will do this with you. They will work with you to understand the support that you need in order to do the things you want to in life. Depending on your needs, the support they offer may include equipment and any training to use it, information and advice, contact with local groups and charities, or a support worker. They will also be able to refer you to other services that can help you, such as Guide Dogs.
Many of these teams have established good links with local hospitals and eye clinics, and it may be worth asking at the clinic if there is a Link Worker you can speak to, or that can contact you. This is a member of the team that has a direct link to the clinic, and will be available at the clinic so you can talk to them at your visit.
Each team will also have specialist workers that support people who have dual sensory impairment, so if you have problems with both hearing and seeing, they will be able to help you.