Visual impairment

Support services

RNIB Eye Clinic Liaison Officers

RNIB Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ELCO) are key in helping patients understand the impact of their diagnosis and providing them with emotional and practical support for their next steps.

When attending an eye clinic, people may not be able to take in or fully understand the information about their sight condition during their appointment and may not know what questions to ask. This is exacerbated by increasing demand and capacity challenges in hospitals where staff have little time to sit with an individual at the point of diagnosis. ECLOs have the time to dedicate to patients following consultation so that they can discuss the impact the condition may have on their life.

ECLOs work closely with medical and nursing staff in the eye clinic and the sensory services team in social services also based in the Borders General Hospital. They provide those recently diagnosed with an eye condition with the practical and emotional support which they need to understand their diagnosis, deal with their sight loss and maintain their independence.

Contact Alison Patonday:

  • Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (RNIB Scotland), Eye Centre Borders General Hospital, Melrose TD6 9BS
  • Working days Monday to Thursday
  • SMS: 07771 940 387
  • RNIB email - alison.patonday@rnib.org.uk
  • NHS email - alison.patonday@borders.scot.nhs.uk
  • Read more about the RNIB ECLO service

Macular Society

Galashiels Macular Support Group

  • second Wednesday each month 1.30pm-3.30pm
  • no meeting in January, July or August
  • Focus Community Centre, Livingstone Place, Galashiels, TD1 1DQ

Kelso Macular Support Group

  • second Wednesday each month 10.30am-12.30pm
  • no meeting in January, July or August
  • Abbey Row Community Centre, The Knowles, Kelso, TD5 7BJ

Find out about Macular Society support services that are available

Peer support, information and friendship

Join us at your local support group to hear how we can help you, your family and friends

If you are interested but cannot attend this meeting or for more information during COVID-19 restrictions more, contact The Macular Society's Advice and Support Service on 0300 303 0111.

Sight Scotland Veterans

Sight Scotland Veterans (previously Scottish War Blinded) covers the Scottish Borders area and have two support workers who will offer free support to ex-service men and women, no matter if they lost their sight during or after service. 

If you or someone you know could benefit from Sight Scotland Veterans activities and support, phone free on 0800 035 6409 or contact them online.

Support can include

  • rehabilitation and training to adapt to sight loss
  • grants for equipment to assist with independent living
  • funded respite care
  • home modifications
  • sports, recreation and social activities 

Guide dog for the blind

Guide Dogs Scotland provides a vital service to children and adults with sight loss in the UK.

Services include:

  • guide dogs
  • sighted guide volunteers for adults
  • sighted guide training for friends and family
  • information and advice
  • for children:
    • buddy dogs
    • 0-4 play sessions
    • custom made large print books
    • family events
    • sensory and technology equipment grants

For more information: