Peter Aldous MP met with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) at a parliamentary reception to hear about the charity’s Sight Loss Advice Service and the vital work that Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) carry out.
Statistics show that calls to RNIB focused on emotional support are set to triple, increasing from 2,021 calls in 2016 to a projected 7,000 calls in 2019. Questions around emotional support are one of the top three reasons why people spoke to the advice line in 2018 and is expected to remain in the top three for 2019.
ECLOs work alongside health professionals in eye clinics to offer support and advice to blind and partially sighted people on a range of areas. They are an important part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service, which provides practical advice and emotional support over the phone, as well as face to face in eye clinics, for anyone affected by sight loss.
Peter Aldous MP said: "I am supporting RNIB's drive to raise awareness of the importance of practical and emotional advice for blind and partially sighted people.
“I’ve heard about the fantastic work that ECLOs carry out but am very concerned that the people living with sight loss in Waveney aren’t currently able to access an ECLO service.”
David Clarke, RNIB Director of Services, said: “Losing your sight can have a massive impact on your life and we believe everyone should have access to emotional support when they need it.
“It’s not just the big, life-changing aspects that people need support with. Sometimes it’s the smaller, everyday things that stop people in their tracks or prevent them from living the life they want to.
“These questions or fears can chip away at your emotional wellbeing if you don’t tackle them and RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service can help with this.
“Our Sight Loss Advisers and Eye Clinic Liaison Officers receive specialist training on living with sight loss, and many have personal experience of sight loss themselves.”