Tens of thousands of people are going without the vital emotional and practical support they need when they start to go blind.
In the UK, someone starts to lose their sight every 15 minutes. However, research by the charity has found only 218 of more than 400 (53%) eye clinics in the UK have any type of support staff available for patients to talk to after their diagnosis.
A new report by RNIB, ‘Hanging by a thread’, also reveals just how precarious funding is for existing sight loss adviser roles as many of the services have no guaranteed funding after April 2015.
Sight loss advisers offer emotional support and practical advice to people who are losing their sight. They help people understand their eye condition and explain how to take treatment that might prevent further sight loss. They are a vital link with services such as counselling, workplace support and rehabilitation, so that people adapting to life with sight loss can remain independent.
RNIB is now calling on the NHS and other funders to defend the posts of existing sight loss advisers and is urging the public to sign its petition calling for every eye clinic to have a sight loss adviser by 2019.