Friday, 11 June 2010

Yvonne Fovargue MP finds out what it's like to live without sight

Yvonne Fovargue MP met with RNIB at a parliamentary reception designed to give MPs a first hand experience of the everyday challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people.

Wearing a blindfold, Yvonne tried to carry out some everyday tasks, like making a cup of tea and using a cash machine, within the kitchen and bank areas that had been set up in the House of Commons.

Yvonne Fovargue MP said, "It was a real challenge to carry out these simple everyday tasks without the use of sight. It made me aware of the need for support to be in place when someone loses their sight and is struggling to adjust, trying to remain independent in their own local area and home."

There are nearly 2 million people living in the UK with sight loss, and every day another 100 people start to lose their sight. A shocking 23 per cent of people losing their sight leave the eye clinic without even being certain of the name of the condition that caused their sight loss. The majority are getting no support when they lose their sight - most receive no counselling and are left to cope with their diagnosis alone.

Steve Winyard, Head of Campaigns at RNIB, said, "Every week in the UK hundreds of people begin to lose their sight. You might think that support services would be waiting to step in and help, but that's not the reality many people experience. For example, we know that in the weeks after being registered as blind or partially sighted many people will not be visited by social services. A year after losing their sight only about a quarter of people will be offered mobility training to get out and about independently. RNIB is campaigning to ensure that everyone diagnosed with sight loss gets the practical and emotional support that they need to rebuild their lives."