About vision impairment
Vision impairment is an eye condition that cannot be corrected using glasses or contact lenses.
You may have some indications from birth that your child has a vision impairment or you may notice signs as your baby grows. Most babies are diagnosed with a vision impairment by the time they are one year old. Many people inherit eye conditions as they are often are passed down through the family.
This video shows how to spot a vision impairment in a child and what to do about it.
How do I get a diagnosis?
If you are concerned about your child’s sight, we advise that you speak to your health visitor or GP first, or the school nurse or optician if your child is older. They can make a referral to the ophthalmic clinic or eye clinic.
They will refer you to an ophthalmologist who specialises in identifying and diagnosing a range of conditions which affect the eyes. Derby city children's ophthalmic department is based at the Royal Derby hospital. The Royal National Institute of Blind People provides information on what to expect during a visit.
Children do not need a diagnosis of any condition to get support at school. Your child’s school must do its best to give your child the support they need. However, it’s really important when there are concerns about a child’s sight, that a vision assessment is carried out as soon as possible so that any adjustments to the teaching and learning can be made. Ask to speak to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in your child’s school if you have any concerns.
Where to find support
Support services are available for children with a vision impairment:
Specialist Teaching and Psychology Service (STePS)
Our STePs team provides support for children with a vision impairment.
They offer a range of services including:
- home visits
- support with play and development
- advice on toys and equipment
- sensory room sessions
- support with the transition into a child’s first school place and then on-going
- support and advice for children, teachers, teaching assistants and support workers in the school environment including reading and writing materials, seating positions, mobility and classroom resources.
For parents of children with a new diagnosis, STePS has produced a Vision impairment leaflet.
To contact the STePS team, telephone 01332 641400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Derby SEND Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)
SENDIASS offers free, confidential, impartial advice and support to parents, children and young people up to the age of 25 about Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They can also guide you through the SEND processes and procedures.
To find out more about the support that SENDIASS offers, visit the SENDIASS website.
Vision impairment blogs
- My Blurred World - named as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK in 2018, Elin Williams is a young Welsh woman behind the award-winning disability and lifestyle blog.
- Mum Cheryl’s Story - from diagnosis to independence.
- Sassy has totally blind for several years now. Her blog Thinking Out Loud challenges stereotypes through education and humour, empowering others to be more disability confident.
- Life of a Blind Girl - Holly is from Yorkshire and is blind due to a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). She wants her blog to be a platform that provides people with advice and support on all things visual impairment and disability.
- Family Connect - talks about what it's like to be a parent, how to advocate for your child, what new resources have been found and much more.
- Lucy Edwards is a YouTuber who creates videos about her experiences.