Sight loss is most associated with the ageing process, but there can be a number of reasons that could cause your child to experience vision loss, before they even reach adulthood.
If your child is diagnosed with a problem and is suffering from sight loss, registering this with your local authority will often help to provide the support and connections you need to deal with this. It offers a range of benefits that can ease the transition you’re going through and it couldn’t be easier to do!
This voluntary process simply involves registering your details with your local service so they’re aware that you have a child who is partially sighted or severely sight impaired. No personal details are shared from this register and there is no ongoing obligation to use the services as you please.
Getting Referred to a Specialist
If your child’s sight has become a concern, the first place you should go is to see your local GP or a high-street optician. It is important to discuss any issues that your child is experiencing at the earliest opportunity, allowing you the chance to formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan, as well as answer any specific questions you are likely to have in your mind.
This is also an opportune time to explore what feasible options are open to address your child’s vision loss, and get answers to questions you might have such as lasik eye surgery cost and what tests need to be carried out.
If it is deemed necessary to get your child’s eyes looked at by a specialist (an ophthalmologist) they will refer you for one of these appointments. This will be carried out at your local eye clinic where they’ll test their eyesight and look at the general health of their eyes.
This eye specialist will look at your child’s field of vision (how much they can see to the side of them when staring straight ahead), and what their visual acuity is (how much detail can be seen in the distance). These tests will allow the ophthalmologist to determine whether certified is justified.
If this is the case, they will produce an official certificate which will show the results of their tests and this document will provide you with important information about your child’s diagnosis.
Registering with Your Local Services
Once you have received this certification on behalf of your child, you will normally be contacted by the local social services team who will ask whether you want to accept a registration entry on the list of blind and partially sighted people. A “yes” from you will place your child straight on the register, but if you wish to remain independent of this , you should still be able to apply for the support services available.
When you are an adult with vision loss, If you do choose to register, social services may offer to carry out an assessment to determine what help you need in order to remain independent. This includes a variety of things including transportation, keeping in touch with family and friends and help with cooking and cleaning.
Discuss your needs and concerns regarding support and access to assistance, if you feel that you will need some help in getting your child the treatment and care facilities they might need in order to deal with their vision loss problems.
The Advantages of Being on the Register
Becoming registered will open up a wide range of advantages, including concessions on a variety of services. These include free public transport, leisure discounts, deductions on your tax allowances and Council Tax bill, assistance with NHS costs, and a half-price TV licence. Which of these you’re applicable for will depend on whether you’re on the register as sight impaired or severely sight impaired.
By being on the register it doesn’t automatically grant you all of these benefits but you will find it much easier to claim. The registration is evidence for your claim and confirms your sight loss. You’ll be provided with a registration card by your local council, which will help when getting these concessions, particularly if you are visiting a place of interest.
Talk to your local support team so that you can get the help and support you might need if your child suffers from a vision loss problem.
Sebastian Pearce is a Dad who writes about eyesight, low vision and blindness topics for health and parenting blogs amongst others.