Registering your sight loss: Nick’s experience

Registering your sight loss: Nick’s experience

February 3, 2020 3 By Kailee Schamberger


Nick Radford:
My name is Nick Radford. I have Retinitis Pigmentosa. It’s a genetic disorder and over
the past six months or so I’ve noticed quite a bit of deterioration in my eyesight which
obviously was concerning so I decided to seek advice. Richard Wormald:
Mr Radford my name is Richard Wormald. I’m an Ophthalmologist and I’m a Consultant at
Moorfields Eye Hospital where I’ve been since 1994. The certification of vision impairment
is making an official statement about a patient’s level of vision. It’s an extremely important
process for patients who are having difficulty with their vision because it opens the door
to a wide range of services and support. Nick Radford:
When I was first informed that I could be certified as visually impaired my – I was
in my mid-teens. My initial reaction was very negative and all I could think of was, I’m
not disabled, I’m not blind, I’m not going to put myself into that box. It was that psychological
barrier of thinking that’s me admitting defeat. Richard Wormald:
I think in this case because the sight has got so poor you’re entitled to be certified
as severely vision impaired. That doesn’t mean you’re completely blind, far from it
but according to the criteria your sight is poor enough to entitle you to the maximum
level of benefits. Certification is not the end of the road. It doesn’t mean we can’t
do anything else to help. In fact it means there’s a lot more that we can do to help
and this is the process that enables it. Nick Radford:
I began to realise that whether I’m certified or not my condition is the same but with certification
come this whole heap of benefits and opportunities and support. As long as I don’t let that sort
of define me then it doesn’t change anything it just helps. Richard Wormald:
So if you’re willing to go ahead shall we consider filling in the form now? Nick Radford:
Yeah, yeah definitely. Richard Wormald:
If that sounds okay. Nick Radford:
When I went back to Moorfields and raised my desire to get certified it was a really
simple easy process. The Specialist at Moorfields told me what the options were, what would
happen. He explained everything to me and filled out the form for me and then I took
that up to the CVI office at Moorfields and they processed it and sent it straight to
the Council. So it was relatively painless.. Richard Wormald:
The services and benefits that are available depend to some extent on the – whether you’re
certified as vision impaired or severe vision impaired. They range from a number of tax
benefits, concessions but most importantly really they’re about letting the local Social
Services know that you have a problem with your sight and then you’ll be contacted and
offered a range of options. Nick Radford:
Since I’ve been certified the help I’ve had is access to work. I’ve applied for and got
a Disabled Rail Pass, a Freedom Pass. I’ve been to the Low Vision Clinic to have an assessment
there where I was given a magnifying glass to help read small print. I’ve also begun
to apply for a Blue Badge and I’ve started long cane training. I do regret that I didn’t
do it earlier because there is so much help on offer and you don’t need to take it all.
You don’t need to take any of it but my advice would be to just try and be as objective as
possible. I understand the emotions and the fears but they really are significantly outweighed by the benefits.