The emotional impact of sight loss

Losing your sight

It’s very common to experience a wide range of emotions. Diagnosis of sight loss may have left you feeling lonely and isolated. There’s no need to apologise or feel guilty about this, it’s natural. It’s important for you to express your feelings and to find the support and space that you need. In this section we have put together some ideas that may help you.

It’s common for people to experience feelings of despair when they lose their sight, but usually these are temporary and will lessen over time. While it’s natural to feel down, if you’re struggling, we would advise you to talk to your GP or another healthcare professional and to consider counselling.

Your identity

Some people with sight loss may struggle with their own sense of identity, with the change from being an independent person to someone who is living with an impairment. This is a very common feeling and many people find it difficult at first. However, there is support available to help you to adjust to a new way of life and to rebuild your confidence and independence. There are many positive examples of people who have started new careers, made changes within their existing careers, or rediscovered old or new hobbies, so that they can continue to enjoy life regardless of their sight loss.

Your relationships

Sight loss can also have an impact on members of your family, your friends or the people you work with. You may have a partner, family member or friend who will be supporting and helping you, and they may be feeling overwhelmed, too. It’s natural for them to be going through a range of emotions and have fears and concerns.

It may be helpful for your family, or those closest to you, to have an idea of what you’re experiencing. This can be done by getting special glasses that imitate different eye conditions. Ask about these at your Eye Clinic or contact one of our team.

You may be worried about how your sight loss may affect your relationship, along with concerns about becoming dependent upon your partner. We encourage you to talk together about the things that you’d like to manage for yourself and areas where you’d like some support. It can be a fine line between helping someone and taking away their independence.

Your sight loss may vary from day to day, and this may affect how much help you need or want.

If you are a parent or grandparent sight loss will bring new challenges for you. However, there’s no reason for it to stop you from parenting, or enjoying your grandchildren, although you may need to make some adjustments.

If you have children or grandchildren, talking to them about your sight loss and describing to them what you can see, will help them to understand how it affects you.

Your children or grandchildren will want to help you, but we encourage you to try to be as independent as possible.

The following is a link to more information on the RNIB website RNIB Coming To Terms

What help is there in Newcastle – speak to one of our Vision Support Workers who will advise you what is available in Newcastle. For people who have been newly diagnosed we run a Sight Awareness course, where you will learn about the equipment and help available to you.