A diagnosis of a sight loss condition is a life-changing event, and for people who are born with visual impairment there can be a range of emotional impacts as they face barriers and stigma which still exist in our society.
In 2020 Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded published a policy report “Social Connections and Sight Loss.” This report studied the links between loneliness and sight loss; the research findings suggested that around two thirds of blind and partially sighted people have experienced loneliness because of their sight loss.
The report highlighted many experiences of challenges to mental wellbeing and episodes of emotional trauma as a result of visual impairment. This ranged from blind and partially sighted pupils struggling to make friendships, young people accessing counselling to help them manage anxiety linked to their visual impairment and veterans with sight loss experiencing chronic mental health challenges.
We collaborated with the Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded to build on these findings, develop a deeper understanding of the wider emotional impact of sight loss, and develop policy recommendations.