Blindness and visual impairments

There are almost 2 million people living with sight loss in the UK. Of these, around 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted.

As we get older, we're more likely to experience some level of sight loss. It affects one in five people aged 75 and over, and one in two people at 90.

Visual impairment is the term used to describe a loss of sight that cannot be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. There are two main categories of visual impairment:

  • Partially sighted, which means the level of sight impairment is moderate
  • Blind, which means a severe sight impairment where activities that rely on eyesight become impossible.

It's important to get an eye test at least every two years, as several causes of sight loss can be treated and even prevented if they’re caught in time. You can arrange an eye test by going to a high street optician, or through your GP.

A consultant ophthalmologist is responsible for registering an individual as blind or partially sighted. The consultant will decide if someone is eligible for their sight loss to be certified and will complete a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI). With this certificate, people could register within their local social service.

There are many degrees of visual impairment ranging from difficulty in reading small characters through to complete blindness, and not everyone with visual impairments can read Braille.

If you're partially sighted, you would be keen to make the most of your remaining sight and using devices that speak information to you such as a voice activated personal assistant could be helpful.

People can visit their GP or optician and get referred to a consultant ophthalmologist in order to be registered as:

  • partially sighted, which means the level of sight impairment is moderate
  • blind, which means a severe sight impairment where activities that rely on eyesight become impossible

The Royal National Institute of Blind People has information on their website.

GARI - the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative – also has information on their website which may help you find the best device for your own needs, whether sight, hearing or dexterity.

Services we can provide to support you

- Free directory enquiries

For people who are unable to easily use a printed Directory due to an impairment, we provide a free directory enquiries service. Customers need to call 100 from their landline to register for this service. Alternatively, you can use one of our other contact methods on the contact us page.

- Free Priority Fault Repair Service

Sometimes, a telephone or a broadband service becomes a vital lifeline for customers. We offer a free priority fault repair service for customers who have a disability and may be at risk in the unlikely event of a fault occurring on their line.

We’ll prioritise your repair over standard care levels but there may be circumstances beyond our control that mean we can’t. For example, extreme weather conditions like floods or storms can delay or prevent our engineers carrying out repairs to overhead cables or working down manholes.

To find out if you’re eligible for a Free Priority Fault Repair, and to register for the service please contact us on 01482 602555. Alternatively, you can use one of our other contact methods on the contact us page.

- Third Party Bill Management

Customers who need help to manage their account can nominate a friend or relative to receive copies of bills and correspondence without them becoming liable for the bill. The Authorised User is able to raise a complaint or make a payment on behalf of the customer. Please call us on 01482 602555 to arrange this on your account. Alternatively, you can use one of our other contact methods on the contact us page.

- Alternative formats

For customers who have difficulty reading our standard printed material, we offer large print, audio or Braille contracts, bills and other customer communications. Please call us on 01482 602555 to request this. Alternatively, you can use one of our other contact methods on the contact us page.