How to get registered
If you are concerned about your eyesight or eye health you should visit your GP. A high street optician can also advise you.
If your GP thinks there may be a problem they will refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye consultant). You can be seen by the consultant at Bristol Eye Hospital, but for the majority of conditions, you can also be seen at the Eye Department at Weston General Hospital.
The ophthalmologist will examine your eyes and discuss any treatment options that are available to you. The ophthalmologist is the only person that can decide whether or not your sight meets the criteria to be certified as either Sight Impaired (Partially Sighted) or Severely Sight Impaired (Blind). If this is the case they will complete a form called a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI). A copy of the form will be sent to you, your GP and to Vision North Somerset. This enables Vision to carry out the registration process on behalf of North Somerset Council.
Why should I be registered?
People with significant sight loss may need help and support; this is true of children, people of working age and older adults. It is important to be registered so health and social care authorities can plan services to meet the number of people that may need them.
Registration is also an opportunity to explore the range of help that is available to you and to tell you about the benefits of registration such as an additional tax allowance for severely sight impaired (SSI) people. The Vision North Somerset Registration and Equipment Officer will help you through the process.
As part of the assessment you will be asked questions about what help you might need to help you to manage to stay independent. Questions might include:
- Can you manage to make meals for yourself?
- Can you read your correspondence?
- Are you able to go out and about safely?
- What would you like to be able to do and can no longer manage because of your sight loss?
The Registration and Equipment Officer will discuss your needs and any action will only be taken with your agreement. You may be referred to another member of the Vision North Somerset team – for example:
- Rehabilitation Officer – for mobility training or daily living skills such as cooking
- Information Officer – for advice on aids and equipment
- Volunteer Coordinator – for benefit advice, social opportunities and many more options
Vision North Somerset can also refer you to other agencies such as Social Services or health professionals if you need additional help which is not necessarily related to your sight loss.