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Vision support service is launched in Scotland

A new service that aims to help people come to terms with losing their sight has been officially launched.

The Vision Support Service has been established by the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland with the help of Scottish Government funding.

The facility, at Ninewells hospital in Dundee, aims to help blind and partially-sighted people in the Tayside area deal with their loss of vision.

It provides emotional support for people diagnosed with various conditions that threaten their sight, as well as practical advice and information on aids and services that could help them continue to lead an independent life.

Almost 188,000 people in Scotland live with a sight loss that seriously affects their daily lives, with the figure projected to double by 2031.

John Legg, director of RNIB Scotland, said they were working towards establishing a network of Vision Support Services across the country.

He stated: “Every day in Scotland, 10 people begin to lose their sight.

“But only a tiny percentage are offered support and counselling, despite the devastating impact sight loss can have on people’s lives.

“That’s why RNIB Scotland is working to establish a network of Vision Support Services in each health board area where none exist at present.

“These will offer newly-diagnosed people the support they need to coming to terms with sight loss and can also refer them on to other services available to them.”

The new service has been set up in partnership with NHS Tayside, which provided it with a refurbished space in the ophthalmology department of Ninewells hospital.

Consultant ophthalmologist Carrie MacEwen said: “While the vast majority of people attending Ninewells hospital’s eye department successfully have their vision preserved or restored, there remains some who have untreatable conditions who require support and advice because of vision loss.

“We warmly welcome this joint initiative which will assist patients with impending or newly-diagnosed sight loss come to terms with their condition with no delay, as the service is sited within our department.”

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