Getting registered as sight impaired
An overview of the process and how certification can benefit you.
Being registered as sight impaired is a decision made by your eye specialist, known as an ophthalmologist, based on certain vision criteria.
When your vision deterioration meets a certain level, your ophthalmologist is likely to ask you if you would like to be registered as either Sight Impaired (SI) or Severely Sight Impaired (SSI), depending on the level of vision you have.
Keep in mind that someone who is registered Severely Sight Impaired is still likely to have some vision. It doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t see anything at all.
Proof of a sight loss
The register that you will be joining is held by a local organisation, normally your Local Authority or local sight loss charity. They will be sent a copy of your Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) and you should receive a copy too.
Once the local organisation that holds the register receives your certification, they should contact you to offer support.
You will also receive a card that states your registration and is your proof of a sight loss.
Benefits of certification
It’s very important that you keep hold of your certificate and card because, once registered as sight impaired, you are entitled to certain support. For example:
- Your Local Authority should have a Sensory Services team, or contracted service with a local sight-loss organisation, that can offer specialist support such as advice and strategies for daily living, help with mobility, and accessing work and education. They will also be able to offer advice on benefits and tell you about other organisations that can help.
- Depending on what level of registration you have, certification helps when claiming some benefits and can get you a reduction on your TV license. You might qualify for provision for adaptations such as lighting, handrails or even grants, and those registered SSI can apply for a blue badge.
Even if your sight loss meets the criteria for registration, you don’t have to be registered if you choose not to be.
While certification automatically triggers access to the services and support mentioned, if you choose not to be registered you can still refer yourself to the Sensory Services team in your local area to get help.