How to support patients with sight loss

5 May 2023
Spring 2023

It’s crucial to show empathy towards patients who are visually impaired. Kellie Smith explores how clinicians can get it right.

Being diagnosed with eyesight loss is a devastating moment for patients. For the 250 people losing their sight every day in the UK (RNIB, 2021), it’s important that clinicians understand how they may be feeling – both at the point of diagnosis and later in their sight loss journey.

The most common emotions that a person will go through when they’re first diagnosed with a visual impairment are shock, panic, denial and feelings of anger, says Tina Doyle, Counselling Services Manager at the RNIB. “It’s important that the person delivering this information is aware of those emotions so they can manage the effects of them.”

Louise Gow, Specialist Lead for Eye Health at RNIB, explains that when people are feeling angry or in denial, they can’t take on board what clinicians are telling or advising them. “It’s really important that those emotions are dealt with before you start showing magnifiers to them.”

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