Visual impairment

Being registered as severely sight impaired (previously blind) or sight impaired (previously partially sighted)

Many people have poor vision and in general this is resolved by prescriptive spectacles. These can be obtained from your local optician or optometrist.

Unfortunately for some, this problem is unable to be resolved by prescribing corrective spectacles and you will be referred to an ophthalmologist, a specialist eye doctor.

Specialist treatment available

In the Scottish Borders, NHS ophthalmological services are co-ordinated through the Borders Eye Centre at the Borders General Hospital.

Consultant ophthalmologists, orthopists and nurses treat patients who have a variety of eye conditions or disorders such as:

  • cataracts
  • glaucoma
  • macular degeneration

If the ophthalmologist is unable to rectify your sight or prevent further loss, they may certify you as being eligible to be registered as either severely sight impaired or sight impaired.

The ophthalmologist will discuss with you the option of being referred to Social Care and Health - Sensory Services Team for registration. This can only be done with your consent.

Register as severely sight impaired (previously known as blind) or sight impaired (previously partially sighted)

Registration as severely sight impaired does not necessarily mean that you are, or will be, totally without sight. This means the loss of functioning vision is causing severe problems.

Registration as sight impaired is similar to registration as severely sight impaired, except the loss of functional vision is generally less severe.

Registration is voluntary. You do not have to be placed on the register if that is your wish and it will not affect your entitlement to an assessment of need.

We are required to keep two registers:

  • the severely sight impaired register
  • the sight impaired register

The registers are confidential and information from them cannot be disclosed without your prior consent. Statistical information only is provided and updated regularly to the NHS Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland and to ourselves on a monthly basis.

Download the Low Vision Services information book