Getting the help you need
Sight is the sense people fear losing the most. Some people will lose their sight slowly while for others it can be sudden. Whatever the situation: help, support, and advice are at hand.
Please find information below on some common eye conditions and where to go for additional support.
There is a wide range of eye conditions that affect sight in varying ways. These leaflets provide information on a selection of common conditions and where to seek support and further advice.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye, called the macula. It can make your central vision blurry or distorted and a blank patch may appear in the centre of your vision.
A cataract is the clouding of the lens in your eye. Developing cataracts causes your sight to become cloudy and misty.
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS)
Charles Bonnet syndrome causes people who have lost a lot of sight to see things that aren’t there. CBS hallucinations are only caused by sight loss and aren’t a sign of a mental health problem.
Diabetes-related eye conditions
Diabetes is a condition where your body does not produce enough insulin to use glucose properly. It can cause several health conditions, including diabetic retinopathy and other eye-related problems.
Glaucoma occurs when your optic nerve is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. Initially, it affects your peripheral vision and can make it appear as though you’re looking through a tunnel.
Keratoconus affects your cornea, the clear dome-shaped window at the front of your eye. It can make your vision blurry and distorted, and you might find bright light uncomfortable.
Nystagmus causes your eyes to move or ‘wobble’ constantly and can affect your vision in a variety of ways, such as having a reduced level of vision or poor depth perception.
Retinal detachment is an emergency condition that should be investigated urgently by an optometrist or in A&E. It happens when your retina separates from the inside of your eye and can cause permanent sight loss if not treated quickly.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP)
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of inherited eye conditions that affect the retina at the back of your eye. RP causes gradual sight loss and can affect your ability to see in dim light. Depending on the type of RP, it can affect your peripheral or central vision.
Stargardt macular dystrophy is an inherited eye condition that affects the macula, a tiny part of your retina. It causes problems with your central vision, ability to see detail, and sometimes colour perception.
Stroke-related eye conditions
Strokes occur when a part of your brain is starved of oxygen. Vision problems are common after a stroke because our eyes send visual information to different parts of our brain. Strokes can cause a range of conditions, such as loss of peripheral or central vision, or double vision.
Sight Advice FAQ
Sight Advice FAQ answers questions about living with sight loss, eye health, or being newly diagnosed with a sight condition. This includes those who are supporting people through their sight loss journey, including parents, partners, carers, and friends. This site has been created by RNIB, Guide Dogs, Visionary, VICTA, Fight for Sight, and Vision UK, working together in partnership.
RNIB provides additional advice and information on topics including managing money, employment, accessing benefits, dealing with housing issues, travel, and shopping.
There are charities and support groups dedicated to supporting people with specific eye conditions and diseases. They provide opportunities for people to share information and experiences. Find a group by searching the RNIB Sightline Directory.
Losing sight can be a difficult and upsetting experience. Emotional support is available for individuals and their families. The RNIB runs a telephone helpline, call 0303 123 9999.
If you’re an individual with sight loss looking for employment support, please find some useful links below:
- RNIB advice line: 0303 123 9999
- Sightline Directory for organisations close to you: https://www.sightlinedirectory.org.uk/
- Sight Advice FAQs: https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/employment-work/finding-work
- Blind in Business https://blindinbusiness.org.uk/
- London Vision: https://www.londonvision.org/employment/
- Look UK supports 11-29 year olds with education and career choices: https://www.look-uk.org/mentoring/
- Thomas Pocklington Trust: https://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/employment/