In order to be registered as severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted) you need to visit an eye specialist, called a consultant ophthalmologist.
They will conduct an eye test and complete a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI). In your eye test, the consultant ophthalmologist will measure how good you are at seeing detail (your visual acuity) and how much you can see from the side of your eye when you’re looking straight ahead (your field of vision). They use a combination of your visual acuity and your field of vision to judge whether you’re eligible to be registered, and at which level. Your visual acuity is measured by reading down an eye chart while wearing any glasses or contact lenses that you may need. This is known as a Snellen scale.
Your field of vision is measured by a field of vision test. The consultant may do other tests to check your eye health, such as using drops to dilate your pupils. This could blur your vision for a few hours afterwards.
The consultant will discuss the results with you and ask you to sign the C.V.I. Where available, Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) are also able to explain the process of becoming registered as blind or partially sighted and the benefits of being registered.
The C.V.I is then sent on to your local council, GP, Moorfields Eye Hospital, your hospital notes and a copy to your home address.
Once the council receive your registration they will contact you either by letter or telephone to finalise the registration. Some council’s send out a letter of acknowledgement with additional forms to be completed and then, once they are returned, will post out a registration card for you to carry in your purse or wallet.
Other councils will contact you over the telephone and arrange a home visit, where they will fill in the forms with you and give you the registration card there and then. Once the registration card has been issued this is the C.V.I process complete and will remain in place until any changes need to be made.
There are various entitlements for being registered as S.I or S.S.I although some entitlements don’t apply to both sight classes. The below information is a guide and if applying for any of the below, the outcome can vary as it is down to a decision maker to decide if the entitlement is authorised.
- Blind persons tax Allowance – S.S.I
- Television License reduction 50% – S.S.I
- Blue Badge Parking – S.S.I
- Free postage Articles for the blind – S.S.I & S.I
- Free NHS eye examination – S.S.I & S.I
- Disabled persons railcard – S.S.I & S.I
- Free or reduced bus travel pass – S.S.I & S.I
- Free directory enquires – S.S.I & S.I
- Cinema pass for carer S.S.I
- Protection under the Equality Act – S.S.I & S.I
- Assessment by your local authority – S.S.I & S.I
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – S.S.I & S.I
- Attendance Allowance – S.S.I & S.I
- Carer’s Allowance – S.S.I & S.I
- Employment Support Allowance – S.S.I & S.I
- Tax Credits – S.S.I & S.I
- Housing Benefit – S.S.I & S.I
- Council tax reduction – S.S.I & S.I
- Universal Credit – S.S.I & S.I
- Pension Credit – S.S.I & S.I
- Free ticket for guides at theatres or tourist attractions – S.S.I & S.I
There are also many various services and organisations that offer a range of services, which, with your permission you can be referred into.
Birmingham Vision are lucky to have two wonderful Eye Clinic Liaison Officers who work in Birmingham Midland Eye Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, you can find their contact details here to get in touch with any questions you may have.