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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 many are passed down through the family.

Here is how to spot a vision impairment in a child and what to do about it: 

If you are concerned about your child’s sight, we advise that you speak to your health visitor or GP in the first instance or the school nurse or optician is your child is older. They can make a referral to the Ophthalmic clinic or eye clinic.

They will refer you to an ophthalmologist who treats people who have issues with their sight. An ophthalmologist specialises in identifying and diagnosing a range of conditions which affect the eyes. The Royal National Institute of Blind People provide some information on what you can expect during a visit. The children's ophthalmic department is based at the Derby Royal hospital. 

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. 

Dealing with a vision impairment diagnosis: Julia's story

Filmed by the Royal Society for Blind Children, watch Julia talking about her daughter's sight impairment diagnosis at her 8 month check, and how her family have dealt with Myla's condition since then.

The Scottish Sensory Centre has a comprehensive list of eye conditions with easy to read explanations.

To help you keep a record of your child’s condition, we have created three useful toolkits that you can go through with your child. Simply select pages that you think are relevant to your child. You do not need to fill out every page.

These pages can be taken to your GP or shown to your health visitor as evidence of your concerns. They can be used just to gauge how your child is feeling on a particular day. We understand that as parents, you meet a lot of people to discuss your child’s needs and often have to repeat information.

Specialist Teaching and Psychology Service (STePS)

Our STePs team consists of experienced and qualified staff who deliver a range of services including:

  • Home visits
  • Support with play and development
  • Advice on toys and equipment
  • Sensory room sessions
  • Support transition into a child’s first school place

As well as, support and advice for children, teachers, teaching assistants and support workers on reading and writing materials, print format, seating position, classroom resources, teaching techniques and implications for the wider school environment.

For parents of children with a new diagnosis, STePS have created a Vision Impairment leaflet.

To contact the STePS Team, please telephone 01332 641400 or email stepsadmin@derby.gov.uk.

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 as well as guiding you through the SEND processes and procedures.

To find out more about the support that SENDIASS offers contact them on 01332 641414 or email SENDIASS@derby.gov.uk.

Other sources of support

The following organisations also provide support:

Here is a selection of vision impairment blogs:

  • Named as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK in 2018, Elin Williams is the 20 year old Welsh girl behind the award-winning disability and lifestyle blog, My Blurred World.
  • From diagnosis to independence - Mum Cheryl's story
  • Sassy, 27 and been totally blind for just over 4 years now. Her blog Thinking Out Loud challenges stereotypes through education and humour, empowering others to be more disability confident.
  • Holly is 23 from Yorkshire and is blind due to a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). She wants her blog Life of a Blind Girl to be a platform that provides people with advice and support on all things visual impairment and disability. 
  • Family Connect talk about what it's like to be a parent, how to advocate for your child, what new resources we've found, and much more.
  • Lucy Edwards is a YouTuber who creates videos about her experiences
  • Ray Charles
  • Menna Fitzpatrick
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Susan Townsend
  • Mila Kunis
  • Andrea Bocelli
  • Missy Elliot
  • Bono